Discuss the role of wage employment in poverty alleviation and how is MGNREGA different from it.

The Indian state is a welfare state as enjoined in the Directive Principles of State Policy. Thus, it is the duty of state to alleviate poverty, which stands at 21% as per Suresh Tendulkar committee report.

  • While Universal Basic Income is one of the solutions to address the issue of poverty; another approach is to use vast labour potential of the country to build durable community assets.
  • Here enters MGNREGA enacted in 2005, which functions as a ‘right-based’ approach to 100 days of manual unskilled labour for every rural family.

Wage Employment and its role in poverty alleviation:

  • Consistent with philosophies of hard work.
  • Durable & useful asset for community is made.
  • Data collected can be used in other schemes.
  • Source of income for the poor.
  • Up-skilling of workers possible.
  • IEC & financial inclusion also possible.
  • Decreases unemployment.
  • Prevents moral hazard and a fatalistic attitude.

How MGNREGA is different:

  • Made a legal-right & if not fulfilled, can claim a pension from state.
  • Focus on audits by the stake holders.
  • ICT & e-governance enabled by e-MGNREGA & Jan-Samadhan app.
  • Wages via DBT to the beneficiary directly.
  • Beneficiaries are identified by the socio-economic factors & assets tailor made to community needs.
  • Financial inclusion of workers by Insurance, Jan-Dhan Yojana.
  • GIS tagging of assets.
  • Up-skilling of workers to reduce future dependence on MGNREGA & also focus on horticulture, vocational, etc.

Way Forward:

Thus, MGNREGA is a lifeline of the Indian workers & must be made better.

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