Letters

Not achieving its core objectives

It is clear that the MGNREGA scheme has become a boondoggle, as it is not achieving even its core objectives of providing enough work to the poor and building durable assets that can increase productivity. Had assets been built, it would have improved rural productivity and lowered food prices (Editorial, “A mindset problem”, Jan. 30). The scheme promises 100 days of employment to one member of a household, but it has seldom managed to provide even 50 man-days on an average per household/per year. The Centre should come forward to transfer the funds allocated to MGNREGA in the budget as a direct grant to States to spend it on reducing poverty in rural areas. Also, the funds can be converted to direct income support to the poorest of the poor, using the Jan Dhan Yojana scheme, which will ensure not only will the money go directly to the poor, but their bank accounts will also start getting used. Another viable option, perhaps would be to use the funds to build rural infrastructure and assets in poor districts where poverty levels are high. The Narendra Modi government has to do lot of thinking and rework the scheme to get a bang for the buck. The budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in July last year was a big disappointment for 13-crore rural households, which are fully dependent on the MGNREGA scheme. Evidently, when the scheme is suffering from a lot of impediments, the Modi government unabashedly claims that its implementation has improved a lot in the last five years. The Lok Sangharsh Morcha and People’s Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG) have recently said that under-funding and inappropriate use of technology continue to violate workers’ entitlements under MGNREGA.

R. Sivakumar,

Chennai

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:50:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/not-achieving-its-core-objectives/article30696799.ece

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