polity : What-is-your-take-on-NREGA
Answer by Harshit Ladva:
MGNREGA is a scheme to be justifiably proud of, despite all its shortcomings.
After reading about its implementation, I came up with the following analysis.
Aim of MGNREGA :
The Rural Labour Enquiry of the National Sample Survey confirms that a very high proportion (50 to 70 per cent, or even more if we focus on tribal areas) of agricultural labour households actually own land.
If constraints on their productive capacities are eased by well-designed investments, such as the creation of water harvesting structures, land levelling and works to conserve soil and moisture, which maximise employment in the construction phase and create durable assets, they will contribute to growth.
This will make poor landowners potentially active participants in the growth process.
- MGNREGA has created 1,698 crore person-days of employment.
- Half of this has gone to women and half to Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
- More than 10 crore bank accounts have been opened for wage disbursal, an unprecedented scale of financial inclusion.
- Instrumental and only silver lining in combating drought and poverty.
- The difficulty, however, is that so long as people don’t get paid on time.
- Hence it is unattractive to wage-seekers and ineffective in stopping distress migration.
- Very little productive assets created.
Why I applaud Government for it ?
Despite the ubiquitous criticism the government did not morph NREGA into an unconditional cash transfer scheme. Cash transfers can put money in the hands of the poor but cannot create the assets that they need, which are ultimately the foundation of an inclusive growth process.
While such transfers make sense for pensions and scholarships, they are no substitute for social sector provisioning. This is what the chief ministers of states such as Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have realised. These states are among the best examples of MGNREGA being used in convergent mode to generate sustainable rural livelihoods.
My two words:
NREGA must be tweaked in implementation and focus (target 'deprived' area) , but not in design.
NREGA is a good thing. Don't mess with it.