Saving people’s livelihoods
There are many problems with MGNREGA but little evidence that poor citizens will be better off without it
Recent pronouncements of the new government make it clear that it is seeking to alter the essential character of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Among these prescriptions are that 60% of the works in each district should be devoted to agriculture and that a greater share of the cost of a work be devoted to material. This was followed by an explicit intent to restrict the MGNREGA to a few “needy" areas. These are based on an ill-founded premise that the MGNREGA is neither useful nor relevant in its current form. They ignore the growing evidence on the usefulness of MGNREGA works where the Act has been implemented well.