World’s largest and most ambitious social security programme failing the poorest due to government neglect
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Aug 19: Employment under Mahatma Gandhi tiol Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has declined consistently from 2010-11.
Though the decline is a tion-wide phenomenon, the highest decline, happened, shockingly, in the poorest states and poorest sections in the country for whom the act was formulated.
Budget outlays at the Central level were cut by Rs 7,000cr in 2013-14. Expenditure has declined, as has Central release.
In 2010-11, Rs 921 crore was spent on the scheme generating 470 lakh mandays in Assam. In 2011-12, the expenditure decreased to Rs 748 crore, while mandays came down to 353 lakh. The next year, the spending dropped further to Rs 651 crore, and the mandays decreased to 314 lakh. Though the expenditure went up to Rs 700 crore the following year, it did not result in an increase in mandays which slumped further to 299 lakh. In the last fiscal, the expenditure was Rs 504 crore, and it generated just 210 lakh mandays.
Till the first half of August this year, only 78 lakh mandays have been generated against an expenditure of Rs 267 crore. This year, only 12,000 mandays have been generated in Kamrup (metro) district. Karimganj was a little better at 35,000 mandays.
Expenditure on NREGA went down from nearly 1% of the GDP in 2008-09 to only 0.3% in 2012-13.
Officials admit that the 100 days’ work guarantee under the Act was a distant dream, with both the State and Central governments responsible for making the law totally ineffective.
Due to faulty implementation, the government has also failed to guarantee the compulsory 100 days of wage employment to many households, and the number of working days is also on a downward trend.
tiol Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005, which was later remed as the “Mahatma Gandhi tiol Rural Employment Guarantee Act” is a labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’. It aims to ensure livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a fincial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. It is one of the important scheme being implemented by government to achieve inclusive growth.
Starting from 200 districts on 2 February 2006, the NREGA covered all the districts of India from 1 April 2008. The statute is hailed by the government as “the largest and most ambitious social security and public works programme in the world”. In its World Development Report 2014, the World Bank termed it a “stellar example of rural development”.