ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Armchair Economics Duo on NREGA

This is apropos the letter “Do Not Dilute NREGA” by Dilip Abreu, Pranab Bardhan, Jean Dreze et al (EPW, 18 October 2014). Through this open letter to the prime minister, many noted development economists around the world have expressed their genuine concerns over the dilutions that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is about to witness very shortly. Among the major amendments that the central government is considering are – restricting NREGA to 200 poorest districts of India and altering the labour-material ratio to 51:49 from 60:40. The first move is against the fundamental objective of the Act – to provide livelihood security to rural households through guaranteed wage employment opportunities – which would deprive the poorest households from benefiting through NREGA in relatively rich pockets of the country. Given past experience, the move to alter the labour-material ratio is most likely to open up enough space for corruption, only to serve private contractors and local mafia through supply of materials in the name of creating durable productive assets.

Instead of bringing these radical amendments which will lead to the gradual death of NREGA, the government needs to establish a robust mechanism to strengthen the existing systems within the bureaucratic set-up at the state, district, and block levels to improve efficiency of programme implementation to realise the true potential of NREGA and other such programmes. The prime minister himself has stressed on this need several times, and has demonstrated improved bureaucratic efficiency during his tenure as chief minister of Gujarat.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 59

(Readers in India)

$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.