MNREGS eats agricultural produce; Labour prefers skilled jobs
It has been 10 years since Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) has been rolled out and over 60 lakh workers are employed, as on date, on thousands of sites across India. But a recent study has found that the employment scheme has resulted in decline in agricultural yield and farm incomes by 15 per cent in few states across India.
The rice cultivation in states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is likely to fall by five to eight percent in next five years, according to the study. The decline in skilled farm labour is the reason behind the reduction in crop output. The workers under MNREGS are inclined towards skilled labour and that adversely impacts the generation of rural employment and farm labour. The study took into account 48,000 households and 100,000 individuals belonging to 104 villages in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for their study. Also Panchayats seem to be spending more time on implementing MNREGS and hence core functions of planning and service have declined by 75 percent in past six to eight years.
Women empowered under MNREGS
However, this scheme seems to have a positive impact on the rural women. The incidences of rural women opening their bank accounts have seen a rise. Practices like creating common property like fruit orchards and acquiring assets in the form of gold and silver have increased too.