Usually, people from rural areas migrate to cities and towns to find employment opportunities. To reduce the number of this migration, the Government of India has launched the Rural Employment Generation Programme or REGP. It aims to assist rural and economically backward people to get necessary assistance so that they can either get work for a minimum number of days or create self-employment opportunities.
The Rural Employment Generation Programme or REGP is an ambitious scheme launched by the Central Government of India with an aim to alleviate the unemployment issues in the villages and small towns. Through a number of schemes and programmes, the government offers employment opportunities for a certain number of working days and financial assistance to willing entrepreneurs.
Alongside alleviation of unemployment, the government intends to enhance the available resources in rural areas through all these employment generation programmes. In fact, some of these government REGP schemes aim at enhancing the skills of rural people through systematic training so that they can start their self-employment journeys.
Through the launch of this REGP scheme, the Central Government of India envisions meeting the following objectives:
Sustainable Employment Solution: The government focuses on creating and expanding sustainable job opportunities in rural areas. Through this, it aims to ensure that a continuous demand for employment prevails within the rural area and that unemployed youth do not need to migrate to city areas for work.
Establishment of Micro-Enterprises: The Rural Employment Generation Programme also aims at creating numerous micro-enterprises within the rural area. This enterprise can run successfully with small requirements of finance. Resultantly, people with less disposable credit can also establish micro businesses and create employment for themselves and others.
Easy Financial Assistance: To ensure that financial interest stays protected, the government intends to provide credit assistance to rural enterprises through commercial banks or financial institutions in India. It will help them manage their working capital shortages and grow their business, thereby indirectly creating more employment opportunities.
Demand for Produced Items: The scheme also projects to increase the demand for raw items manufactured by small-scale rural ventures. Small-scale businesses can witness its impact on the growth of their sales and earnings.
With an aim to resolve the issue of unemployment, the Central Government of India has launched several rural employment generation programmes from time to time. It also has revised or merged some policies for better management of different schemes.
As of now, the Indian Government has launched the Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) by merging existing Rural Employment Generation Programmes (REGP) and Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana (PMRY).
Following are the schemes the Indian Government has launched for the generation of employment in rural areas:
The Government of India launched the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) in 1980 to create job opportunities and alleviate the poverty level in rural areas. To fulfil these primary objectives, the government rendered its main focus on strengthening infrastructure and developing key assets.
It targeted to mobilise the unemployed as well as under-employed workers through the development of durable community assets, such as energy, fuel, fisheries, fodder and pasture. It also targeted to initiate and flourish homestead projects as well. An additional focus of this scheme was to improve the basic infrastructure required for economic growth, such as the development of workshops, warehouses and banks.
The Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Scheme was targeted for the economic betterment of those people who have no land of their own. The government launched this scheme according to the sixth five-year plan for the creation of economic opportunities and productive assets in rural areas.
The scheme aimed to create working opportunities for the beneficiaries for at least up to 100 days. Nevertheless, the government rendered preference for employment opportunities for the women and scheduled caste/tribe. Among the total funds earmarked for this rural employment generation programme, 25% was set aside for social forestry, 20% was allocated for housing and 10% was for the scheduled caste/tribe communities.
The Indian Government launched Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) in FY 1989-90 by merging the ongoing RLEGP and NREP. Its essential objective was to ensure 90-100 days of employment for rural people, especially those who belong to economically backward villages. The main target for this rural employment scheme was individuals below the poverty line.
The scheme became more target-centric from the FY 1993-94 and alongside, the budgetary allocation was divided into three streams. In the first stream, there were two sub-schemes namely the Million Wells Scheme and Indira Awas Yojana. The second stream was for the developmental works in 120 target districts, selected according to their socio-economic status. The third stream was for innovative programmes like the prevention of losses caused due to drought by building watersheds.
Employment Assurance Scheme aimed at reducing underemployment or unemployment-related issues in rural areas during lean seasons. Such a period is particularly visible during the agricultural seasons when there is significant insufficiency of work in rural areas. The target rural blocks for this scheme were desert, drought-prone, hilly, and tribal areas.
Through EAS, the government intended to create manual farm works, agriculture-allied works, and other planned/non-planned works. Able-bodied individuals desiring to get employment during the lean agricultural season were beneficiaries of this scheme. The secondary target of this scheme was to create socio-economic assets for the betterment of the community.
Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana is also a central-government-issued programme. Its main target is to develop infrastructure and durable assets in rural areas. Through developmental works, the government intends to create employment opportunities for unemployed and underemployed poor people. For these employment opportunities, the government gives special focus to the people from scheduled caste/tribe communities, people belonging to the BPL category, and physically-challenged individuals.
The gram panchayats are responsible authorities for the implementation of this rural employment generation programme. Both central and state governments are responsible for the funding at a mutual cost-sharing ratio of 75:25.
The main objective of Swarna Jayanti Swarojgar Yojana is to create opportunities for self-employment. Its target beneficiaries were poor rural people and families with low income. Beneficiaries also get proper education and training organised and funded by philanthropists, NGOs, banks, etc., that can help them with scaling up and profit from their income-generating activities.
Although the scheme is central and state government-funded, commercial, regional and cooperative banks are responsible for its implementation. Under this scheme, the people belonging to the BPL category need to form self-help groups. The government provides subsidised loans to those self-help groups so that they can engage in income-generating activities. Nevertheless, according to the regulations of this yojana, there should be at least 50% women groups at any block in a district.
Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana is also a central government-issued scheme that aims to provide gainful employment opportunities for rural people. Besides this, it also targets maintaining food security in rural areas. Works under this scheme aimed at creating productive and durable assets. These can be related to infrastructure for the community, education, health, transportation, village ponds and tanks, etc.
Rural people in need of wage-based employment can be beneficiaries of this scheme. They would get manual and unskilled work in their respective villages. In terms of wages against their work, they get cash along with food grains. The share of cash must be at least 25% of the total wage whereas the minimum share of food had to be 5 kg.
The National Food for Work Programme was also an ambitious employment scheme targeted at unskilled labourers in want of supplementary wages. The main target for this fully central government-sponsored scheme was 150 backward districts in India from different states.
The scheme was launched alongside the Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) to ensure that a supplementary reserve of funds is set aside for those selected villages. In fact, in NFWP also, the workers get paid in cash and food and their minimum pay is similar to SGRY. Nevertheless, currently, this scheme has been included under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) scheme.
National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) is a beneficial government-issued programme that enables every rural household to get a guaranteed 100 days of manual and unskilled work. The primary objective of this rural employment generation program is to improve the life and livelihood of rural families by giving them minimum employment security.
Through permissible works under this scheme, the government intended to make developmental works and improve basic amenities in villages. Some of the permissible works were building dams and dykes, tree plantation, irrigation works, farm bunding, land development, etc. Gram sabhas of every district are the concerned authority to identify and recommend work whereas the respective gram panchayat is responsible for approval of that work.
With an aim to create self-employment opportunities in rural areas, the Central Government of India launched this scheme by merging Prime minister Rojgar Yojana and Rural Employment Generation Programme. Under this scheme, traditional artisans and unemployed youths can get financial assistance through term loans and working capital loans to establish non-farm-based micro-enterprises. This way, the scheme aims at enhancing credit flow for rural micro-enterprises.
Khadi and Village Industries Commission or KVIC is the government body that implements this scheme at the national level. On the other hand, State Khadi and Village Industries Boards, State Khadi and Village Industries Commission, banks and District Industries Centres are jointly responsible for the implementation of this scheme at the state level.
Rural Self-Employment Training Institutes are jointly managed by financial institutions like SBI, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank and Sri Manjunatheshwara Trust with help of the central and state governments of India. The purpose of establishing RSETIs is to provide skill training to rural youth falling under the BPL category.
With this skill upgradation, unemployed youths can create self-employment opportunities. Further, they also receive credit-linked assistance from the bank that runs RSEIT so that they can start their entrepreneurial journey.
You can find RSETIs in every district and any bank or trust is the responsible authority for their management. The government of India gives a financial grant for up to Rs. 1 Crore to the concerned bank or trust for their investment in the infrastructure.
The Central Government of India initiated the Prime Minister’s Shram Awards program to felicitate and recognise workmen for their remarkable contribution and innovation. There are also other aspects that the government considers while listing awardees, including distinguished performance and exhibition of remarkable courage in discharging their duties at the stake of sacrifices.
Every year a certain number of people from the private and public sector get a cash prize under this award program. Women and specially-abled individuals get adequate representation on the list of awardees. Further, they also get special recognition for their innovative contributions and achievements towards productivity. There are again three categories of this award, namely Shram Bhushan Awards, Shram Vir/Shram Veerangana Awards, and Shram Shree/Shram Devi Awards. All these come with different amounts of cash prizes, as decided by the government.
Apart from all these government schemes, there are also some non-government organisations that offer rural employment generation programmes. Micro-financing institutions or NBFCs, such as Inditrade Capital, Satin Creditcare Network, and Instamojo provide financial assistance for entrepreneurial activities. They offer this financial assistance to eligible beneficiaries from diverse sectors, including and not limited to catering and weaving.
With all these rural employment generation programmes, the government intends to uplift the economic opportunities of rural economically backward people. Some of these schemes provide opportunities for on-field manual work and training of professional skills while some others offer subsidised financial assistance to start micro-businesses.
Khadi & Village Industries Commission or KVIC launched and implemented the Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) at the national level.
The main aim of launching the REGP scheme was to create 2 million employment opportunities in rural areas of India under the Khadi and Village Industry sector. This scheme helped in establishing micro-enterprises in rural areas where people can get continuous employment.
Rural Employment Generation Programmes (REGP) and Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) are two different schemes. REGP helped in generating job opportunities in rural areas by establishing micro-enterprises. PMEGP was launched later on by merging REGP and one other scheme, Prime Minister’s Rojgar Yojana (PMRY). It is essentially a subsidy-based credit-linked scheme.
The main features of REGP are as mentioned below:
Helping micro-enterprises with credit assistance so that they can flourish and create new job opportunities
Taking necessary steps so that the demand for materials produced by small rural ventures increases
Individuals above the age of 18 years, cooperative societies and self-help groups are eligible for the subsidised financial assistance provided by PMEGP for making more investments in their manufacturing business.