MGNREGA, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by ajay_ijn, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. ajay_ijn

    ajay_ijn Regular Member

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    NREGA feedback, improvements, viability?

    It is said that NREGA has helped Congress a lot to get votes in 2009 elections. It also did put additional pressure on govt funds.
    I also read a few articles that it did work to an extent, created an artificial scarcity of labour in villages and cities, increased prices of construction workers, farm workers etc
    I heard the usual reports too, that it is a complete failure, the benefit is not reaching the people, corruption, its draining govt funds.

    But other than news reports, Can anybody give an actual scenario of how it worked, i mean if you have asked people who have actually witnessed the program or ppl directly participating in it. They say it worked well in Andhra Pradesh and not so well in other states. obviously in media there is some element of hype, bias, exaggeration etc.
     
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  3. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    NREGA faces midlife crisis: there is just not enough work!

    The UPA’s flagship scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA, for short), is slowly sinking in the quagmire of bureaucracy.

    The scheme, intended to provide 100 mandays of annual guaranteed work per household in rural areas, was initially picked up with great enthusiasm by various states. But its impact is tapering off, thanks to bureaucratic fatigue in providing work.

    The stats tell the tale. In 2006-07, when the scheme was launched, it provided an average of 43 mandays of work to households asking for it. The mandays went up to 48 in 2008-09 in the run-up to the general election and then declined to 45 the 46 days in the next two years. This seems to indicate that as election fever recedes, enthusiasm for NREGA too WANES.

    This year, incomplete data show that mandays provided are dropping precipitously – with 27 million households doing 702 million mandays of work – for an average of 26 mandays per household. The data might be incomplete and the final figures might well show an improvement, but there is no denying the scheme’s midlife crisis less than five years after launch.

    Alarmed by the prospect of the scheme’s partial failure, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has announced a reform package called NREGA 2.0 to ensure that all demands for work as guaranteed by the Act are properly registered through an information technology-enabled system and acted upon by state governments.

    Among other things, Ramesh wants to create a simple telephonic system to register any rural citizen’s demand for work which would then automatically be fed into the scheme’s MIS and get reflected in the job data card issued to workers. If no work is provided by the state government, the worker would automatically be shown as due for unemployment allowance.

    Neat?

    Well, it’s a case of misdiagnosis by Dr Ramesh. In fact, the problem with the scheme is not that it does not register work demands — it does that fairly well —but that states cannot always guarantee work where it is demanded.

    Says KS Gopal, a former member of the Central Employment Guarantee Council which is the apex administrative body overseeing the implementation of NREGA: “The rural development ministry’s diagnosis is wrong. It is not a demand problem but a supply problem. It is not that the NREGA workers’ demands for work are not being registered. It is that work is not being provided. Merely issuing fiats from Delhi won’t help.”

    The scheme runs counter to the fundamental logic of all employment: it wants work to be provided where the worker resides (within a 5 km radius) instead of where work is available. Little wonder, gram panchayats and district collectors are less than enthusiastic about it now.

    [​IMG]

    NREGA was drawn up in the ivory towers of Delhi where some jholawalas decided that work must be provided to people who want it. Good idea. But can unskilled work be provided by any economy to people where they want it without meticulous planning? In fact, it is always the other way round: people move to where the work is – whether it is in a city, or large infrastructure projects in rural and other areas.

    Another problem is that households in many states are now reluctant to register for work since there are delays in payment. The reasons for the delays vary: from non-availability of funds to lack of processing capability in rural banks and post offices. A Frontline report of 2010, based on field visits to seven states, notes:

    There are several steps in the wage payment process. Once work is complete, muster rolls (MRs) have to be submitted to the implementing agency. The next step is the measurement of work, since most states pay wages on the basis of work done, not on attendance alone. After this, payment orders listing the labourers and the wages due to them are prepared. These payments have to be sanctioned by the officials concerned (the block development officer, sarpanch, junior engineer, and so on). Then, the cheques and payment orders are sent to the bank or post office so that wages can be credited into the accounts of individual labourers. Delays creep in at some, or all, of these steps.

    In short, NREGA is the victim of the usual bureaucracy associated with any government-operated scheme.

    This year, the scheme may be running into an unstated hurdle: with the fiscal deficit soaring, the finance ministry may be happy to let the NREGA money go unspent. Remember, it’s not an election year.

    To understand why NREGA is running into headwinds, let’s see what the scheme is intended to do and the problems emanating from these conditions. Its distinguishing features are the following:

    One, the Centre bears the cost of wages, but states have to bear one-fourth of the material costs of work schemes. Most of the money may come from the Centre, but the hard work has to be done by the state. The actual implementation has to be done by the state-level bureaucracy – from district magistrates downwards. They have enough to do anyway.

    Two, if there’s no work, the cost of paying the unemployment dole becomes that of the state entirely. The states thus have less of an incentive to get workers to register if they think they can’t provide them with work.

    Three, NREGA schemes have to use manual labour to the extent possible. Machines are to be used at the minimum. This automatically means that the assets created may often be of a sub-standard nature.

    Four, every household which registers for work is to get 100 days of work within a five-km radius of where they reside. If it’s beyond 5 km, the wages go up by 10%. The 100-day limit has to be shared by a family or done by one individual.

    Five, most of the work that can be carried out under NREGA involves agriculture: water conservation, drought-proofing, irrigation canals, land development, flood control and rural connectivity. Most of these areas call for close coordination with the agriculture ministry – but Sharad Pawar and Jairam Ramesh have not exactly been hobnobbing like long lost friends.

    Says Gopal, the former Central Employment Guarantee Council member, in an interview to Business Standard: “Although located in the same building, the two ministries have not talked to each other. NREGA works plans are not integrated into district agriculture plans, lowering optimum benefit. Has any work of NREGA been ever vetted by agricultural experts? Krishi Vikas Kendras are in districts but not involved…”

    The bottomline is simple: NREGA has been conceived in haste, and is not well-thought through. In a short span of time, it has managed to push wages up everywhere, but at the end of it all, it hasn’t even achieved its primary goal of giving jobs to all comers.

    Jairam Ramesh has to go back to the drawing board to rework the scheme to make it more manageable.
     
  4. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Good that this albatross on the nation's economy is crumbling on itself. It was a disaster from the beginning and responsible for much of the inflation that we are seeing now.
     
  5. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    Something tells me Pranob and MMS are slowly sideling the G's and its kitchen cabinet the NAC
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  6. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    Really?How long would it take for the Gs to sideline MMS?
     
  7. SLASH

    SLASH Senior Member Senior Member

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    How can there be not enough work? We are still a developing country. Our villages are still underdeveloped.
     
  8. Naren1987

    Naren1987 Regular Member

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    NREGA has not led to labour shortage in agriculture, construction: Jairam Ramesh

    Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh today refuted the charge that National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) had caused labour shortage in sectors like agriculture and construction.
    Ramesh said that there was a deliberate attempt to spread propaganda discrediting NREGA.
    "The scheme has increased agricultural wages, reduced distressed migration in some parts of the country and created community assets particularly water conservation structures. Of course, there is room for improvement," the minister said. Under NREGA, every adult member of a rural family is paid on an average Rs120 per day for 100 days in a year. Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credai) had recently stated that real estate projects were experiencing time and cost overruns due to shortage of labour due to schemes like Nrega. Besides, there were also reports stating that it was getting difficult to hire labour for agriculture.
    "Many people are uncomfortable with increasing agricultural wages. What can you do. If you want to reduce poverty in the country, you will have to pay more. Only then, people will live comfortably," Ramesh told reporters on the sidelines of an international conference here.
    He also ridiculed the reports that crop holiday announced in East Godavari district was due to NREGA and said the official reports suggested other reasons.
    "Our report is entirely contrary. I had asked for a study to be made. A study has been made. NREGA has nothing to do with crop holiday. The crop holiday is because of various reasons like procurement price, fertiliser price, distribution of seed, irrigation issue, Ramesh explained.
    Meanwhile responding to a query, Rural Development Minister said the Comptroller and Auditor general would take up performance audit of NREGA in 12 states soon.
    NREGA has not led to labour shortage in agriculture, construction: Jairam Ramesh - India - DNA
     
  9. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sometimes I feel the govt should go bankrupt because of such moronic schemes that make the masses lazy.

    I think one of the reasons the govt does not fear a backlash because of price rise is they think they can bank on such schemes. After all the recipients of the Rs.100 are the biggest chunk of voters.But even they are not the main beneficiaries, its the middle men who pocket the most.
     
  10. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Its true that there is shortage of labors for many labour intensive industries. when one can get easy money and aaram wala kam at home who will choose to do labour. NREGA scheme was started to lure voters by misusing middle class tax payments. NREGA is absolute waste of money nothing else .
     
  11. Naren1987

    Naren1987 Regular Member

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    I think, I think,
    This money could be much better spent on
    1.Improving the farmer's knowledge base, through better primary education.
    2.Connecting vegetable producing areas with better roads to facilitate the use of Refrigeration trucks(the only trucks that can transport vegetables), more freight rail.
    3.Building Agricultural universities
    4.Training the few literate workers in construction to alleviate the shortage of skilled labour.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
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  12. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    to add to it :D
    4. to decrease tax on petroleum products and bring petroleum prices to china level ie 46 rs \ltr .
    5. to improve infrastructure like electricity and irrigation.
    6. give free housing to poors instead of distributing free money.
     
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  13. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Jairam Ramesh should do dome Home work before he opens his mouth.The entire Textile Industry is reeling with shortage of workers who come predominantly from Eastern UP, Bihar and Orissa. Since MNREGA was started thousands of migrant workers have gone back to Bihar.

    Even Punjab farmers are facing severe shortage of migrant workers. There were plenty of reports in the newspapers with pics of farmers waving placards at the Railway station for trains coming in from Eastern India. To woo the workers they are even offering TV with Satellite connection for the workers.

    And then he says that there is no shortage of workers.
     
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  14. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    This Govt has put around 30 million people on the dole already and the number is increasing by the day. Tomorrow if the economy is not in a position to support this kind of dole, will these 30 million odd people just let go of it peacefully. Whether we like it or not we have converted a productive workforce of millions and converted them into addicts of Govt. charity.
     
  15. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    It means economy is F*cked up and next government will spend 5 years trying to bring it on track and congies will cry foul . masses will be fooled to beleive that government is anti poor and anti people and they will be back to power.
     
  16. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Firstpost has called this current round of inflation as Rahul-flation.

    As per the articles there all these schemes are being hurriedly being implemented as the Congress feels that this is a sure shot way of winning the 2014 election and putting RG as the PM of the country.
    Even Sharad Pawar on Walk the Talk (NDTV) has raised question marks on these schemes. As per his statement if all the money is going down on dole where will the money come for development activities- and we all know if the developmental activities stop then we can say bye bye to Country growing by 8to 9 % annually. We will be back to the old Elephant Growth rates.
     
  17. SLASH

    SLASH Senior Member Senior Member

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    Soon we will have NREGA unions and reservations. Well done Congress. One foot forward, two feet back.
     
  18. Naren1987

    Naren1987 Regular Member

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    ^^^
    Another failure, but we should expect this from the CONgress.
     
  19. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    Almost the same like what happened in TN in the past 15 years.

    The next central govt would have learnt the lessons that economic growth and development does not necessarily translate into votes. Freebies and doles are more appealing to a large section of the voters.
    Therefore,I do not think the next govt at the Centre would do something different. If they do then they'll lose the subsequent elections.
     
  20. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    well what can we say if people are ready to lazy to work . why doesnt any state gov oppose it since it an financials burden on them . the should oppose it
     
  21. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    I think one way to get rid of this would be increase the number of taxes in the state list and decrease the number of taxes in the Central list. Once the states have greater tax collecting powers the Centre would not have the funds for political schemes like NREGA.

    The states that are better economic performers can utilize the tax revenue for development purposes . Instead a bulk of the taxes collected by the Centre are spent on political Doles in non productive and backward regions. This makes people there who are otherwise willing to work even lazier.
     

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