e-Governance for Rural Development in Jharkhand

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The Rural Development Department aims at providing shelter to the homeless poverty stricken people of the rural areas. It also caters for holistic watershed development in order to conserve natural resources, says Arun. In conversation with Kartik Sharma and Souvik Goswami.

Please tell us about the role Rural Development Department is playing in the development of Jharkhand?
The Rural Development Department, Jharkhand implements several programmes that aim at alleviating rural poverty through creation of infrastructure, by generating sustainable employment opportunities for the rural poor. It provides subsidies for acquiring employment generating assets in order to generate self employment opportunities for the families below poverty line. The banks provide the proportionate credit to the beneficiaries. The Department also aims at providing shelter to the homeless poverty stricken people of the rural areas. It also caters for holistic watershed development in order to conserve natural resources.

Aadhaar has been phenomenally rolled out in the state of Jharkhand. Please tell us about the Aadhaar MGNREGS pilot project in the state.
According to a report, as of April 2013, more than 1.28 Crore Aadhaar enrolments have been completed in Jharkhand and of these approximately 95 lakhs have been generated and delivered. The district of Ranchi is leading in the enrolment exercise with 14.76 lakh enrolments till March 2013. The chart below shows the current district wise Aadhaar enrollment status for Jharkhand.
MGNREGS with its prime objective of improving the rural livelihood security had a comprehensive span in the state since its inception. The number of registered beneficiaries for MGNREGS in Jharkhand as of March 2013 is approximately 89.23 lakh.
Over the years MGNREGS has extended its reach in Jharkhand in terms of the number of beneficiaries covered and the wages distributed. Per day wages paid under the MGNREGS in Jharkhand has gone up from Rs. 65 in 2006-07 to the present rate of Rs. 122.75 per day in 2012-135.

“The Department provides subsidies for acquiring employment generating assets in order to generate self employment opportunities for the families below poverty line”

What were the benefits out of these initiatives? Were some crucial issues like dependency on middlemen countered?
Most of the end beneficiaries targeted by this pilot project were dependent on middlemen for aid while money withdrawals. The pilot project facilitated Aadhaar number and finger impression of the beneficiaries for the withdrawal of money through a BC. Hence, the beneficiaries did not need the assistance of the middlemen to fill bank or post office withdrawal slips.
An assessment has validated this finding that the constraint of the end beneficiaries due to formalities of filling forms etc. had diminished with the disbursement being made through biometric authentication. Thus, it has reduced dependency on the middlemen allowing withdrawal of funds from the end beneficiary account only by the beneficiary himself on receiving information on credit of wages by the BCs/Panchayat officials.

Indira Awaas Yojna is successfully running in the state. Please tell us about the objectives of this scheme.
Under Indira Awaas Yojana the Gram Sabha is empowered to select the beneficiaries under the scheme. Whether the allotment of the dwelling units should be in the name of the female member of the house hold, alternatively it can be allocated in the name of both husband and wife.
The objective of Indira Awaas Yojna is primarily to help construction of dwelling units by members of Scheduled Castes and also Non- Scheduled Castes rural poor living below the poverty line. From the year 1999-2000, it has been decided to earmark 80% to total allocated funds for construction of new houses and 20% funds for up gradation of Kachha unserviceable houses. As per guidelines, tallest 60% of assistance should go in favour of Scheduled Castes beneficiaries under this schemes.
The target group for houses under I.A.Y. is people below poverty line living in rural areas belonging to S.C./S.T. freed bonded laborers and non SC/ST categories . a maximum of 40% of the total I.A.Y. allocation during a financial year can be utilized for construction of dwelling units for non SCs/STs BPL at categories.

Please give us the overview of the operations of Mining department in Jharkhand.
Jharkhand is known for its mineral resources. The state economy, industrialization and employment mainly depend upon its development and utilization. Several Steel industries, thermal power generation units and aluminum plant are based on iron, coal and bauxite available in the state. Limestone produced in the state is being utilized in the Cement plants located within and without the State. Coal bed methane, rare earth minerals, precious and semi precious mineral are areas where immediate attention is required for investigation and exploration.

Jharkhand is one of the leading producers of mineral wealth in the country. What is the status Coal mining in the state?
Jharkhand is endowed with vast natural resources specially the different variety of minerals ranging from Iron ore, Copper ore, Coal, Mica, Bauxite, Fire clay, Graphite, Kyanite, Sillimanite, Lime Stone, Uranium and other minerals.
Coal is the most important and abundant fossil fuel in India. It accounts for 63% of the countrys energy need.
Almost 100% of prime coking coal, 93% of medium coking coal and about 30% of the semi coking coal or blendable coal reserves are available in Jharkhand. The total reserves of the coal in Jharkhand is of the order 69128 million tones which spread over Jharia, Bokaro, Rajmahal, Hazaribagh and Chatra of prime coking coal in the country. The availability of prime coking coal in the country is quite meager. Jharia Coal field is the only resources of prime coking coal in the country. The production of prime coking coal from the region is limited. However, comparatively the medium quality coking coal are available in abundance

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