Rural livelihoods have improved because of MGNREGA. It is wrong to say the scheme has not worked
If some recent news articles are to be believed, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), a scheme that costs less than 0.35% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP), has crashed the country’s economy. The latest to join this bandwagon of criticism is an editorial in Mint. (“MGNREGA: A tale of wasted efforts", 7 February). The editorial makes a sweeping assertion that “the scheme represents Rs2.3 trillion spent on wasteful rural consumption". While a healthy debate on the subject is welcome, indeed, desirable, the piece seems to be an assortment of unsubstantiated claims. No evidence has been used to support the claims, which is disappointing, given the plethora of independent evaluations of MGNREGA done by researchers from across the world over the last few years.