ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Radicalism of NREGA

The brutal murder of young Jharkhand activist Lalit Mehta exposes the violent opposition of vested interests deeply threatened by the radical provisions of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). Lalit, a full-time activist of Vikas Sahyog Kendra (VSK), was brutally killed on May 14, on his way home through the Kandra forest. He was 36. He leaves behind his 28-year-old adivasi wife and their two children, aged one and three.

The VSK is an adivasi-led organisation whose activists have worked over the last 15 years in the Palamu district of Jharkhand for securing rights over natural resources and sustainable livelihoods. Palamu typifies the most backward adivasi hinterlands of India, whose incredible wealth of natural resources is matched only by the deep distress of its people. Drought, poverty and hunger stalk a land where they can easily be overcome. This requires a peoplecentred, nature-nourishing approach to development, fine-tuned to the needs of each location. For the VSK, the NREGA holds out precisely such a promise.

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