India's most ambitious scheme ever to lift people out of poverty has met with largely disappointing results in its first year, studies suggest. The $2.2 billion scheme, which was launched by the Congress-led government in 200 districts, guarantees 100 days of work a year for every rural home. It has been described as India's New Deal for the poor in a country where 70% of its people live in villages. Critics say the scheme squanders public money and builds wasteful assets. The scheme was launched in February last year to provide employment to millions of people in India's poorest villages to work on building local infrastructure like village roads, small dams, ponds and buildings.