Nationwide programme guarantees employment for rural Indians

07 Mar 2010

Udaipur, India - UNDP Administrator Helen Clark traveled to Bhilwara yesterday as part of her five day official visit to India. She was there to visit the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, a programme which fights poverty in India by providing employment for those who want it.

“There are very many exciting aspects to this scheme, but most exciting of course is the benefit it can bring to women, men, and families,” said Clark. “We hope by working 100 days per year, there will be more money for food for the family, more money for health care, and more money for people to be able to support themselves.”

While there, she visited a water conservation work site and discussed new projects which allow for workers to receive wages through fingerprint technology. Afterwards, she discussed the programme with local women who had been elected representatives in the district.

“For 27 years I was a member of parliament in my own country, and I spent nine years as Prime Minister, so I know women can do anything,” Clark said. “When I listen to those of you who have been elected, I know there are many empowered women in the room here. So I’m here to encourage you.”

On Monday, International Women’s Day, Helen Clark will be in Delhi to launch the latest Asia Pacific Human Development Report which focuses on women and gender equality.

Also widely anticipated on Monday is passage of a bill in India which would reserve 33 percent of seats in parliament and state legislatures for women.