Perambra (Kozhikode): During the early days of its implementation, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) was a difficult act for the State.
Given the low wage (Rs.125 a day) on offer under the scheme and the restrictive norms, there was little leeway for the State to make it work. It has been a long haul from there to the present.
The MGNREGS has now been innovatively refashioned to suit the States specific geographical and labour conditions. Although little noticed by the outside world, local self-government institutions have played a major role in this transformation and prominent among them is the Perambra panchayat here which successfully tapped the latent skills and spirit of volunteerism of its people to lift its farm output to admirable levels.
What the civic body did was very simple. It brought together hundreds of women who were ready to work on the farms and gave them all support. The whole exercise began with a series of meetings involving 300-odd farmers and Kudumbasree volunteer groups to chalk out a group-farming initiative.
Roughly 150 acres of fallow land at Kaipram, owned by the farmers, was identified. A major portion of these lands had remained fallow because of heavy inundation from the Marakkadithode that runs from Ponparamala to the Kuttiyadi river.