MGNREGA VLE DEO FUTURE

Starting of DEO/VLE Journey…

We have started our journey in 2006/2007 as Computer Operator and the gradually become Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE) of MGNREGA through Data Entry Operator (DEO). Some of us working now is working at his/her position for as long as 15 years. Many of them is holding a good position in the office. Some not so strong at his position. The payment has surely increased, also has increased the workload. The increase in the remuneration is not at par with the work load a computer operator has to take. If we look other cadres which has born in between that, we can see all other have gained significantly. But we are the left outs, deprived, under estimated all that applies. I want to find to find out the reason? Why are we understated? Why we are under estimated? And overall what lies for us in the near future?

Where the Government is going?

Government is going the digital way. And I can bet without the MGNREGA DEOs it would not be possible to roll out so many number of online/digital services. We are the backbone. But we are not stable as backbone? We have immense opportunity in near future. From 2008 to this time the number of digital products launched by both state and central government is not less. Government has fully changed some traditional things, going straight to digital way leaving the pen-paper and so called “red tape” way. But they have taken very little initiative to educate the existing the workforce of the government, the permanent staffs. Why they are doing so? If they are planning something new or they are just careless? Here are multiple possibilities, I want to explore some of them.

Are you fit for the job?

First thing which I want to say is that you only loose significance when you are less significant in the most significant sectors/fields. We have to accept some of the hard truths which I am going to say in the coming lines. So, if you cannot tolerate self-criticism I am requesting you to stop reading right now. Gram Panchayat DEO has tremendous potential to be office boss. BUT he/she must be technically sound and also must be well educated to deliver whole page descriptive letters in English and/or Bengali. Let aside reading long English orders that we receive on daily basis. Now-a-days panchayat office administration is 90% data processing. I can say database and some algorithms runs the local governments. You should have understanding of these. Your understanding is a qualifier for your significance. More the qualifier more the significance.

Knowledge:

When we started working at the panchayat office we were the only person with computer knowledge. Then after a year the GRS joined. And within a year they just taken away all the importance of the DEO. Isn’t it amazing? We all know the survival of the fittest. When the block or district office is shouting for a particular report which will be generated with algorithm and the DEO is plucking hair but the GRS or any other person comes to the rescue, it’s very normal that the DEO will lose significance.

Some of us have very poor knowledge of Computer/ Data/ Entry/ Operation. I know there are DEOs who have learned the computer after joining the panchayat. They may have some cheap certificates before that. But practically using the machine was only at panchayat. So, computer operator without knowledge of computer. Again, loss of importance.

Enthusiasm:

You are the only person in office with knowledge of computer, internet etc. So, its common that all other staffs will think of you in any technical difficulty, be it network issue, a paper jam in printer to malfunction of their personal mobiles. But you have done what? For network of hardware issue, you have called the technician, for mobile you have directly said that you do not have any idea and the complex report generation work has been done by the GRS or someone else? So why are you for? For taking money? No one like useless persons.

Greed:

We know greed kills. Some became greedy. And greed has made them dishonest and corrupted. Lack of knowledge and enthusiasm is pushing them to the boundaries now the greed is just overkill. Am not saying anymore.

Over smartness kills:

In the starting years there were really pressure of data entry into the MIS. But with times that has evolved to such a level that now data entry is a matter of joke. Anyone with good typing speed will do all the data entry required day to day. In this situation the more we shout about work pressure the more we will be pushed to the corner. Not all EA/Secretary are dumb. Some are smart enough to handle 5-6 DEOs work. So be careful.

Will MGNREGA DEO exist in near future?

At last one last warning form my personal views. Requirement for data entry into MGNREGA MIS has its days limited. To be clear there will be no need to do data entry into MIS in near future. At present all the technology available to common man which will eliminate data entry at office level. So be careful. Learn new things so that if MGNREGA removes you, you can get fit into somewhere else.

Upgrade yourself..that is the future?

NREGA was never a simple subject as it was always showcased. Form the beginning full preparations were made to make it more complex day by day. Complexity started from the time when decision was taken to make wage payment through bank accounts. Complexity was increased while Aaadhaar was incorporated. And the introduction of DBT finally killing it. Each of these developments were made to make the scheme smoother, more transparent to common man. But some critical components were missing in doing so. It is infrastructure in the backend and education at the frontend.

So, things became complicated over time. No help was never available to us. No one taught me how tables in the Nrega database are related, or how Aaadhaar Enabled Payment System works. But I had to understand them all in order to maintain my position. If I don’t have those understandings I will not be able to write this article or any of the post in this website. I just want to open your eyes that if I can understand these things why not you? Why will you not have the answer to each and every question that arises while working?

Subhrapratim De is a Data Entry Operator (DEO/VLE) under MGNREGA Scheme. He is working at the ground level (Gram Panchayat) since 2008 in West Bengal. He has strong background knowledge of computer system, network and operating system. He has knowledge of programming and databases too. Lastly he is a part time blogger.

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      DEO West Bengal