How MGNREGA is Lifeline to Many ? | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 1st July 2020

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” –Nathaniel Hawthorne

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT 98 :“How MGNREGA is Lifeline to Many ?

How MGNREGA is Lifeline to Many ?
Brinda Karat
Brinda Karat is a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau and a former Rajya Sabha MP

      HEADLINES:

Utilise MGNREGA to the fullest capacity

      CENTRAL THEME:

The scheme should not be diluted in the name of the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Scheme

      MAINS QUESTION:

MGNREGA is the livelihood and lifeline of rural poverty ridden households. Substantiate -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • MGNREGA allotments
  • Rural distress
  • MGNREGA vs PM GKY

      INTRODUCTION: 

The role of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) as a lifeline for the working poor in rural India has been proved once again with the experience of the lockdown.

  • RURAL DISTRESS : In April and part of May, it was the absence of MGNREGA which accentuated rural distress.
  • WORK DISTRIBUTION : Whereas the number of households who got work in April 2020 was the lowest in several years at 95 lakh, in May the number went up to 3.05 crore.
  • AVERAGE WAGES : With an average 23 days of work and a daily wage of ₹200, households who got work earned an average of ₹1,500 a month.
  • TOTAL FUNDING : The Central government released ₹38,000 crore for MGNREGA work, of which 70% has already been utilised.
  • INCREASE IN DEMAND : With the return of migrant workers to their home States and with substantial numbers having completed the quarantine period, the demand for work is bound to increase.

The remaining ₹8,000 crore fund available to the States is clearly insufficient.

      BODY: 

WORK PROVIDED TO FEW

  • REJECTIONS :  As many as 1.82 crore workers who demanded work were turned back.

EXAMPLE
Bihar, which also has a large number of returning migrant workers, 12 lakh workers of the 41 lakh workers who applied were turned back.

  • UNEMPLOYMENT ALLOWANCES : In spite of a legal provision of unemployment allowance not a single rupee in compensation has been paid.
  • MONSOONS HAVE SET :  During the rainy season even though demand is high, work provision is low.
  • ADDRESSING DEMAND : State should ensure that funds reach to the provinces and workers get the unemployment allowances .

CONTRADICTIONS WITH OTHER SCHEMES

  • PM GKY : According to the list of 25 kinds of work available under this “scheme” it is clear that almost every single one of them is already covered under the convergence programmes of MGNREGA.
  • NEW SKILL MAPPING : The new “skill mapping” is required in GKY ; for this since this work is already covered under MGNREGA.
  • NATURE OF WORK : The nature of the work is manual work including work to lay cables, ostensibly to take Internet connections to rural areas.

  It is unstated but clear that this will benefit private telecom companies.

  • NEW SCHEME IMPACT : There is no clarity on this critical issue in the set of guidelines issued by the Ministry of Rural Development, the nodal Ministry for this scheme.
  • NATIONAL AVERAGE : Last year, under MGNREGA, in these 116 districts taken together, an average of just 43.7 workdays were created, which was lower than the national average of 50 days.

  This poor record of provision of work may have been one of the reasons for the higher rates of migration from these districts.

WOMEN EXCLUDED IN PM GKY

PM GKY is primarily meant for migrant workers in those districts where their numbers are 25,000 or more.

  • SMALL DISTRICT : That means in these selected districts women who comprise a smaller percentage of migrant workers will be largely excluded.
  • HIGHER DEMAND : However, women in these districts had a high demand for work reflected in the fact that the average of women working in MGNREGA in these districts last year was 53.5%, which was higher than the average for the rest of India.

      IASbhai Windup: 

POTENTIAL FOR MGNREGA

  • MGNREGA should not be diluted in the name of the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan.
  • MGNREGA IS RELIEF TO MANY : The potential for MGNREGA to provide relief to the suffering of rural India should be utilised to its fullest capacity.
  • CURBING RESTRICTIONS : This will also require a removal of the restriction of only one person per household to make every individual eligible.
  • UNCAPPING : The cap of 100 days should be removed to expand it to at least 200 days.
  • ALLOWANCES : Unemployment allowance should be guaranteed for all those turned away from work.

State must ensure the release of funds on an emergency basis.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL | How MGNREGA is Lifeline to Many ?

 

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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