A Better Way to Fix MGNREGS

A Better Way to Fix MGNREGS

The MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) appears to be under security.

It may even be overhauled, if recent media reports are to be believed.

MGNREGS was launched by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) by bringing the legislative bill in 2003 to provide work at specified wage rates for individuals of a rural household for at least 100 days in a year.

During the Covid years, this scheme played a vital role for helping the rural workers.

The use of MGNREGS funds has a direct correlation with the level of economic distress in the Indian economy.

MGNREGS account for only 1.9% of the Centre's total expenditure in 2023-24.

Govt prompted its review for two reasons because MGNREGS has caused concern for the govt -

  1.  Entire cost of the scheme supported by the Centre alone, but state monitors the work done under the scheme.
  2. Misusing the provisions of the scheme - lack of monitoring, diverting the funds of the scheme to build schools, hospitals or etc.

The law will also have to be amended if the states are made to share the cost of the scheme.
MGNREGS is a useful short-term instrument for tackling the jobs crisis in rural India.
The center should be focused more on fixing its implementation problem instead of reducing its fiscal burden.