24 Aug 2017

How is Modi's MGNREGA different from UPA's?

Even after calling it a "living monument of UPA's failure," PM Narendra Modi continues with UPA's flagship scheme, MGNREGA.

His earlier dismissive attitude towards it led to "revival" of the scheme after two consecutive droughts and falling farm prices, in a new avatar.

What made the NDA stick to a policy they had long slammed? And what difference did they bring to it? Know more here.

What is the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act?

Objective: Guaranteeing 100 days of unskilled manual work to all rural households in India. Inability to provide work within 15 days necessitated an unemployment allowance. Aim: Providing rural households the right to work; thus, state provides work on demand. Projects: Build roads, canals, wells etc.

UPA's failure

Why did the MGNREGA fail during UPA?

Why did the MGNREGA fail during UPA?

Failure to implement the Act as outlined on paper was the biggest downfall under UPA's regime.

Inability to provide the promised jobs, corruption, incessant paper-work, non-effective grievance redressal and absence of social audit were the reasons for its fiasco.

So, this scheme ended up being regarded as UPA's ploy to get a second term in office.

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How did NDA re-shape the MGNREGA to make it successful?

NDA's MGNREGA focus rests on building infrastructure that would help agriculture, whereas UPA's focus was on creating jobs as per demand rather than the infrastructure required.

Further, linking farmers' payments directly to Aadhaar cards and reducing arrears on materials are positive steps for eliminating corruption.

Integrated planning is encouraged to ensure no duplication of works.

Centralization has removed financial and functional deficits.

Has the tweaking had any effect?

In 2015-16, the person day generation was the highest in the second quarter (45.88 crore) and third quarter (46.10 crore) than in the last five years. Further, 5.12 crore households received employment in 2016-17. Participation of women increased to 56 percent.

Current position

NDA continues to promote MGNREGA, ten years after its launch

MGNREGA, the largest social security scheme in the world, survives 10 years and two diametrically-opposite political regimes.

With the aim of infusing a new life into it, Budget 2017 announced Rs. 48,000 crore for this scheme.

As NDA does not have the requisite number in the Rajya Sabha it needs to work within the available framework. However, major alterations to the scheme can be expected.

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