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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  World Bank praises NREGA
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World Bank praises NREGA

World Bank, in its World Development Report 2014, calls the rural jobs scheme an ‘innovative practice’ to promote financial inclusion

The rural employment programme, which guarantees 100 days of manual work a year to at least one member of every rural household, was notified on 7 September 2005 and came into effect on 2 February 2006. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint (Indranil Bhoumik/Mint )Premium
The rural employment programme, which guarantees 100 days of manual work a year to at least one member of every rural household, was notified on 7 September 2005 and came into effect on 2 February 2006. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
(Indranil Bhoumik/Mint )

New Delhi: In a departure from its 2009 view on the Congress-led government’s flagship rural jobs scheme, the World Bank hailed the social measure as an illustration of “how good governance and social mobilization can go hand in hand".

The World Bank, in its World Development Report 2014 on its website, cites the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) as an “innovative practice" to promote financial inclusion.

“An interesting case is India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act which has improved outreach to poor people living in rural areas through the introduction of government-to-person payment using a bank account," the report said. “Not only does the programme offer a useful safety net, but it also helps spread awareness of rights and promotes dignity."

The view presented in the 2014 report is a far cry from that expressed by the World Bank in its World Development Report 2009, when it described the rural employment scheme as a “policy barrier hurting economic development and poverty alleviation".

The 2009 report does not mention what made the World Bank change its view.

The rural employment programme, which guarantees 100 days of manual work a year to at least one member of every rural household, was notified on 7 September 2005 and came into effect on 2 February 2006. It is considered the brainchild of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) that sets the social agenda of the government. It seeks to create “durable assets" such as roads and irrigation facilities.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government came to power in 2004 for the first time on a pro-poor ticket and the scheme was one of the main programmes targeting the section during the alliance’s first term in office. The popularity of the scheme was seen as one of the causes for the re-election of the alliance for a second term in 2009.

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Published: 11 Oct 2013, 04:59 PM IST
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