INDIA: Complete failure in the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in Uttar Pradesh


Urgent Appeal Case: UG-002-2007
ISSUES: Poverty & adequate standard of living,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from its local partner the PVCHR, a human rights organisation based in Uttar Pradesh state, regarding the complete failure of the state government of Uttar Pradesh in implementing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in 22 districts. It is alleged that even after one year most of the rural poor who ought to be the beneficiaries of the NREGA programme are deprived of work. The benefit of being covered by the programme is guaranteed employment for 100 days per year for which job cards are issued to those who are identified as beneficiaries of the programme. It is alleged that the job cards already issued under the programme are defective, with incomplete details.


In 2005, the Government of India promulgated the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) to help the poor by providing them work for a minimum of 100 days per year. By providing work in government sponsored schemes at the local level it was expected that the poor will find a source of income which would reduce poverty and starvation. When the Act was passed, it was claimed as an achievement favouring the poor and the marginalised. Having passed the Act, it was decided to implement the programme in stages across the country. The first stage of implementation was to identify the poorest districts in the country and to implement the programme in those districts. In February 2006, 22 districts of Uttar Pradesh were included under this programme.

After one year since the initiation of the NREGA programme in Uttar Pradesh, a public awareness campaign in the name of “hisab do, jawab do” (give us the actual information and answer)  was organised by a group of human rights organisations under the banner of the Right to Food Campaign, Uttar Pradesh. The campaign culminated with a public conference on 2 February 2007, held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh to share the experiences gained from the campaign. Hundreds of poor people participated in the conference and shared their experiences regarding the implementation of the programme in their district.

In the conference the dismal situation of the implementation of the programme was exposed. Most poor people are still deprived of the job cards. It was also found that many people were provided with incomplete job cards. Some of them have no photographs on their job card and some have no signature of officers on their cards. Those, who have been lucky enough to get job cards, have failed to find. Many participants, including women exhibited their empty job cards because they could not get work under the Act even for single day. Only 5% women were able to get work.

Participants expressed their agonies and hopelessness regarding the indifferent attitude of the government officials towards their concerns. It was alleged that in spite of several attempts the government officers and the village heads failed to either issue a card to the beneficiary or to find the work for them. They blamed that the state government was not sincere in implementing the programme and has thus far failed to take an initiative to meet the objective of the NREGA.


The NREGA is in theory a law, but in practice a programme by the central government that is intended to provide employment for the poor. The programme is intended to cater the rural poor who otherwise find it impossible to make a living and suffer from various problems including starvation. The programme guarantees employment for a specific period of time spread-out through the year so that a minimum number of working days [100 days] are ensured for the poor to fetch them an earning. However, this programme is implemented only in areas that are declared to be fit for implementation of the programme. But this requires a considered approach by the administration of the particular region, first to identify the number of people suffering from poverty and then to recommend to the government to include the region and the people concerned under the scope of the programme.

The implementation of the NREGA requires a well coordinated execution of a chalked-out plan by the state government which is supplemented by the central government by its various welfare programmes. The state governments however fail in the execution of the NREGA programme since the implementation of the programme at the state level often suffers from caste prejudices and utter lack of accountability by the officers responsible.

The implementation of the programme suffers further due to its dependency upon the local self government, often village panchayats. For example several villages in rural Uttar Pradesh are still under the control of feudal landlords. These landlords exploit the unemployed rural population by employing them in conditions worse than slavery. The state government of Uttar Pradesh like many other state governments in north India has never taken an initiative to put an end to this practice of modern day slavery. Owing to this control excreted by the landlords, many village heads who are expected to cooperate with the implementation of the NREGA at the village level, either play into the hands of the landlords, or as in several cases the landlords who are also the village head, would oppose any reform that would free his labourers from servitude.

The role of the village head is pivotal from the initial phase where basic statistical survey is gathered to the final implementation of the programme. In a state like Uttar Pradesh, where people from socially ostracized communities are not even allowed to be recognised as citizens the implementation of the NREGA was bound to fail.

A state government cannot exonerate itself from the liability of the failure in the implementation of the NREGA. The administration in Uttar Pradesh state suffer from several problems ranging from nepotism, deep-rooted corruption, lack of accountability, politicisation and criminalisation of administration to a near to complete breakdown of rule of law. The complete failure in the implementation of the NREGA is yet another example of a failed state and democracy.


Please write letters to the concerned authorities listed below and urge them to immediately intervene in the situation. Please write to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in particular so that immediate attention is brought into this matter and to those families that require urgent help.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav
Chief Minister
Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Lucknow 
Uttar Pradesh
Fax: + 91-522-2230002/2239234

Dear Sir,

INDIA: Complete failure in the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in Uttar Pradesh

Those affected: The residents of the following districts who are eligible to be included under the NREGA scheme in Uttar Pradesh: Districts:- 1. Lakhim pur Kheri 2. Sitapur 3. Hardoi 4. Barabanki 5. Unnao 6. Raebareily 7. Jalaon 8. Fatehpur 9. Hamirpur 10. Mahoba 11. Lalitpur 12. Pratapgarh 13. Banda 14. Kaushambi 15. Chitrakoot 16. Kushinagar 17. Gorakhpur 18. Azamgarh 19. Jaunpur 20. Chandauli 21. Mirzapur and 22. Sonbhadra.

I am writing to you to express my concern for all those persons of the 22 districts of Uttar Pradesh named above who has a right to be the beneficiaries of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) programme. I am informed that most of the poor of these districts have failed to find work under the programme.

I am informed of there is a complete failure of the state administration of Uttar Pradesh in the implementation of NREGA in the above 22 districts. I am informed that even after the completion of one year since the alleged implementation of the NREGA, most of the poor in the above districts have failed to get even a day’s work under the programme.

According to the information I have received, in 2005 the Government of India promulgated the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to reduce poverty and to help the poor by providing them work for a minimum of 100 days per year. I am also informed that as the first stage of implementation, the poorest districts in India were identified across the country and the programme was to be implemented in these districts, out of which 22 are in Uttar Pradesh. The poor in these 22 districts in your state still remain unemployed due to the complete failure of the implementation of the NREGA programme by your government. I am also informed that only 5% women were able to find work in Uttar Pradesh as beneficiaries of the NREGA.

I am worried about the allegedly corrupt and prejudiced attitude of the officers in your government and their indifference towards the problems of the poor in your state. I am concerned that at this pace the NREGA implementation in Uttar Pradesh will be an utter failure there by resulting in huge financial loss to the state as well as central government and that the failure of the programme will continue to keep the rural poor in your state under the control of feudal landlords. I am also certain that this will lead to increased suffering of the rural poor forcing them into starvation, which is often reported from Uttar Pradesh.

I therefore request you to take immediate and appropriate actions to ensure the proper implementation of NREGA in the above 22 districts of Uttar Pradesh to meet the objectives of the programme. An immediate inquiry should be conducted to find out the root-cause of the non implementation of the programme and to take appropriate actions against those government officers and the village heads who are responsible for the failure in implementation of the NREGA in Uttar Pradesh.

I trust that you will immediately take an action in this case.

Yours sincerely,



1. Mr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister’s Office
Room number 152, South Block
New Delhi
Fax: +91 11 23016857

2. The Special Commissioner
Samya – Centre for Equity Studies
Secretariat of the Commissioners
R – 38A, South Extension – II
New Delhi – 110049
Tele Fax: 91-11-51642147

3. The Secretariat
The Right to Food Campaign – India
Q – 21-B, Top Floor, Jungpura Extn.
New Delhi – 110014

4. The Regional Director 
World Food Programme
Unit No. 2, 7th Floor, Wave Place Building 
55 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Patumwan
Bangkok 10330
Fax: +66-2-6554413

5. The Country Director 
World Food Programme 
2 Poorvi Marg, Vasant Vihar, 
New Delhi 110057
Fax: +91-11-26150019

6. Ms. Mayawati
Member of Parliament
13-A, Mall Avenue, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh

7. Mr. Jean Zeigler
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
c/o Mr. Carlos Villan Duran
Room 4-066, OHCHR, Palais Wilson,
Rue des Paquis 52, Geneva
Tel: +41 22 917 9300
Fax: +41 22 9179010

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal General
Document ID : UG-002-2007
Countries : India,
Issues : Poverty & adequate standard of living,