Through an inclusive approach taken by the local government, MGNREGA in Naxal affected Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh has created wage employment and integrated the promotion of a gamut of other development interventions.
Balaghat is a Naxal affected area of Madhya Pradesh where unskilled workers are abundant. The district administration of Balaghat envisaged development in the region through implementation of MGNREGS with a participatory approach. The primary objectives of the programme were to create wage employment through successful implementation of MGNREGS and to involve the community in all levels of implementation. The programme, however, went beyond the creation of wage employment and managed to wean off the local community from the influence of Naxals.
The administration took the alternative development approach to identify the needs and desires of the people. MGNREGS brought in the desired funds for catalysing the development initiatives to foster activities promoting priority areas as identified by the local community, including agricultural irrigation, road connectivity, health, and education. 693 gram panchayats, 500 Joint Forest Management Committees, 11,515 Self Help Groups and Water User Associations were selected as implementation agencies, in addition to existing line departments, to facilitate effective implementation and transparency in consumption of funds. The administrator also integrated funds from additional central schemes such as rural road building, backward regions grant fund, MP and MLA local area development fund, state government’s watershed programme to support MGNREGS projects.