ROI – the Return on Investment means value for money.. NREGA is often accused of literally pumping money in digging holes… Well, not always…
There is a water scarce region in eastern Rajasthan called Dang. In summer, there is no water, not a blade of grass. This talai was constructed in one such village – Lakhimpur. You can see it below ..
Its total cost is 18 lakhs (10 lakhs from NREGA, 8 lakhs convergence from another scheme). It was built in this year only just before the rains.
So far the costs… So what is the RoI?
- This talai has enabled the villagers to do water chestnut or singhara farming. Even now in December (after waters have receeded) there is still a good 25-30 bighas (6-7 hectares) under water chestnut farming. The poor community of the village – kahars (OBC) – take up farming at the going rate of around Rs. 15,000 per bigha. They told me they earnt 70,000-75,000 per bigha this season. Their water chestnuts were in great demand in nearby cities such as Hindaun and Jaipur. Even though this is the fag end of season and area under cultivation is at its minimum (since water has receeded), taking today’s 25-30 bigha only as area and Rs. 50,000 only as income per bigha, we still get per season additional economic activity of Rs. 12-15 lakh now possible due to the talai. Pretty good on a one time investment of Rs. 18 lakh I must say!
- Add to it that now farmers will take the water for irrigating their rabi crops in the nearby fields. And in the land so freed after the water dries up (called peta land), they can take a crop without irrigation because the soil holds so much moisture. That’s additional RoI. The village didn’t grow rabi crops earlier!
- An old man told me that the wells im the area have recharged. In a nearby village, they got water by drilling at 150 ft only whereas earlier they had to go upto 400 ft sometimes!
- Villagers are confident that water will stay in the talai during summers as well and they or their animals won’t have to face water shortage again!
Good value for money. #Talais-of-NREGA