INTRODUCTION

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is considered as a “Silver Bullet” for eliminating rural poverty and unemployment, by way of generating demand for productive labour force in villages. Rural poverty and unemployment in India have grown in an unprecedented manner during the last few decades. There is a growing incidence of illiteracy, blind faith, hungry people, mal-nourished children, anaemic pregnant women, farmer suicides, starvation deaths, migration resulting from inadequate employment, poverty, and the failure of subsistence production during droughts. In order to make solution of these problems and to provide livelihood security to rural unemployed, Government of India (GOI) enacted the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in 2005. It is the biggest poverty alleviation programme in the world which is started with an initial outlay of Rs. 11,300 crore in year 2006-07 and now it is Rs. 40,000 crore (2010-11) (Dey, S. and Bedi, A. (2010). This Act is now called as Mahatma Gandhi NREGA. The Act provides a legal guarantee for 100 days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household will to do public work related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage. Thus, it is a universal programme. This minimum wage varies from state to state, in some states it is Rs. 80 whereas in other it is Rs. 125 or Rs. 120 (Khan, A. U. and Saluja, M.R. (2007).  According to the Act, the minimum wage cannot be less than Rs. 60. The 100 days of work figure was estimated because the agricultural season is only supposed to last roughly around 250 days and unskilled workers have no alternative source of income in the remaining parts of the year.

MGNREGA aims to achieve the objective as enunciated in the Article: 41 of the Indian Constitution- “giving citizens the right to work”. The Act is significant due to the following reasons:

  • While the earlier wage employment programmes did not provide any guarantee of job, this Act provided guaranteed job. This guarantee for wage employment is now uniformed all over the country like never before.
  • It is a development initiative, chipping in with essential public investment for creation of durable assets, without which the growth process can’t be possible in the most backward regions of rural India.
  • Almost all the previous programmes were allocation based rather than demand based. NREGA, which was launched in 2006, is considered to be unique from this stand point.
  • The key element of MGNREGA is the provision of employment by the state to those people who are unable to find alternative employment, which provides a form of social safety net to the rural unemployment people.
  • In other wage employment programmes, anyone can be engaged as labour while in MGNREGA only job card holders that apply for employment can be engaged as laborers.
  • There is no time frame in other wage employment programmes but in MGNREGA, employment will be given within 15 days of demand, payment also within 15 days of work.
  • In other wage employment programme the duration of employment is dependent on duration of work by implementing agency while in MGNREGA, a job card holder applies for maximum 100 days.
  • The other key attributes of this Act are labour-intensive work, decentralized participatory planning, women’s empowerment, work-site facilities and above all transparency and accountability through the provision of social audits and right to information. The use of information technology in this programme is considered to bring about greater transparency through intensive monitoring and faster execution. The payment of wages through bank and post office accounts is other innovative step that is likely to reduce fudging of muster rolls on the part of the implementing agencies since the actual payments are beyond their reach.

Therefore, MGNREGA is not only a welfare initiative but also a development effort that can take the Indian economy to a new prosperity.

 

 

RATIONALE OF THE STUDY

Enactment of MGNREGA act and subsequent policies and programmes of the government have produced vast effects in the field of rural development and implement the right to employment. Since the implementation of MGNREGA, several studies and reports have been written about its impact on life and livelihood of rural wage labourers, however no empirical study has been come in the light in context of understanding the right to work and government supported programmes in the rural area is impacting relations between earlier employer and agricultural labourers. Therefore, the researcher tried to find an empirical study which had looked in to the relationships aspect, shift in to it, and how employer and agricultural labourers perceived this programme in their daily life.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The statement of the problem is MGNREGA AND IST IMPACT ON RURAL LIVELIHOODS IN DEHRADUN DISTRICT
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

Following are some reviews of related literature:

Dey, and Bedi (2010) studied the functioning of the NREGS between February 2006 and July 2009 in Birubham district, West Bengal. Their study reveals that in order to serve as an effective “employer of last resort”, the programme should provide more job days during lean season and wages should be paid in a timely manner. This study shows that, in Birubham, there is universal awareness about the NREGS, job card have been made available to all those who have applied and NREGS related information is well maintained and relatively accessible. But there are long delays in wage payments during the first year of the programme, since then, the payment lag has declined and it is now in the range of 20 days.

Sen et al (2009) attempted to measure the outcome of good governance practiced by Gram Panchayats (GPs) of West Medinipur district of West Bengal through the employment generated under NREGS. Data regarding different parameters related to core characteristics of good governance such as participation, transparency, accountability, effectiveness and efficiency, equity was taken into consideration in this study. This study mainly gives importance on potential implementation of MNREGA needs adequate efficient governing body and motivation.

As per the Panchayat and Rural Development Dept. Report on the performance of NREGA in 2007-08, the average number of person days created per household in West Bengal was 25; whereas in the study area it is 19 clearly shows under performance. The average participation rate of 19% with maximum of 40% and minimum of 5% shows a good performance compared to 13.1% state average rate (WB Human Development Report 2004). Average women participation rate (22%) is rightly better than the overall participation rate; showing good equality among genders. Equity which states the equality of men and women in decision making procedure found statistically significant. Accountability also found significant and shows positive relation with the NREGS performance. This represents efficiency and effectiveness of Govt. plays a positive role in successful implementation of NREGS. More transparency will tend to increase person days creation. Likewise more participation, i.e. the attendance in Gram Sansad meeting the more average person days will be created. Thus, to conclude it, this study says increasing the performance of governing body (here GPs) can improve the NREGS performance, hence helps to reduce the poverty level.

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai (2009), “Evaluation of National Rural Employment Guarentee Act: In Districts: Cuddlore, Dindugal,Kanchipuram, Nagai, Thiruvallar, State: Tamilnadu”:- This study generally reveals the impact of MNREGA in the state of Tamilnadu by taking 5 districts into account. In each districts 4 GPs were chosen.

This study shows many positive aspects of the programme. These are mainly:

  • Villagers consider NREGA is promising to be a boon for improving rural livelihood.
  • Provision of job within the village is very much encouraging to villagers.
  • NREGA also ensured gender equality in rural Tamilnadu.
  • The programme employed a very good proportion of scheduled caste and backward caste people.
  • Involvement of SHG members improves people’s NREGS awareness and this is very important for future NREGS planning.
  • Financial inclusion strategies like bank account opening and rural ATM for NREGS beneficiaries at four villagers of cuddalore block has resulted in multiplier effects of savings, financial safety etc.
  • Registrations are open throughout the year.
  • Most of the respondents perceived that payment were received within a week.

Nayak, Behera, and Mishra (2008) conducted their study in 2 districts of Orissa mainly Mayurbhanj and Balasore. NREGA programme was first introduced in 200 most backward districts of the country. During the first phase itself, Mayurbhanj was selected along with other 18 backward districts of the state including KBK districts. The next phase, five more districts of Orissa were included under the scheme including Balasore. Mayurbhanj completed 3 years of NREGA implementation while Balasore has completed two. Both the districts are reported to have achieved certain goals and failed in others.

This study shows that the state as a whole as well as the two sample districts are well in certain physical and financial parameters like provision of employment to those who demand jobs and maintenance of wage and non-wage ratio. However, their performance in certain other important parameters like utilization of funds and creation of demand for jobs is not very encouraging. While the target is to guarantee 100 days of employment to each household, not many households have achieved this target. According to this report well thought out effort is necessary to address these problems of NREGA in the state.

Khan, Ullah and Salluja (2007) have discussed the direct and the indirect effects of NREGP on employment generation and poverty reduction in a local area. For this, a detailed survey was done in a poor agricultural village with 400 households, nearly 2500 people. The survey recorded income and expenditure levels by type of household including large, small and marginal farmers, agricultural labour etc. The survey also recorded production activities undertaken by the inhabitants.

This village study reveals that most people do not access the scheme, as they haven’t heard of the programme. They would like a more proactive role of the panchayat in deciding the infrastructure to be constructed. Almost everyone wants more work from the scheme and better facilities at the work place. There is enough evidence of fudging and mismanagement of records.

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The following objectives are formulated for the proposed study:

  • To explain the implementation procedure of MGNREGA in the Dehradun district.
  • To analyse the impact of MGNREGA on Rural Livelihoods.
  • To discuss about the awareness level of people about MGNREGA work.
  • To calculate the significant difference between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries in terms of monthly income after MGNREGA Scheme implementation
  • To calculate the significant difference between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries in terms of Consumption Expenditure Pattern after MGNREGA Scheme implementation

 

Hypothesis of the study

  • There will be a significant difference between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries in terms of monthly income after MGNREGA Scheme implementation
  • There will be a significant difference between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries in terms of Consumption Expenditure Pattern after MGNREGA Scheme implementation

 

METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY

The present study will be designed to undertake the study the impact of MGNREGA on income and consumption pattern of rural livelihoods

Research Design

A descriptive survey method will be adopted for the present study.

Collection of Data

Both qualitative and quantitative data will be analyzed in the backdrop of the research objectives.

Data will be collected both from primary and secondary sources.

Quantitative data: Quantitative data will be collected from all the stakeholders of NREGS. Questionnaire surveys with the different stakeholders engaged in NREGS in the study site will be organised. Semi structured informal interviews also will be taken from selected households. Transect walk into the MGNREGS worksites will be conducted to have firsthand experience on the MGNREGS works at the community level.

For gathering quantitative data, household survey will be conducted using the pre-tested schedules. Audio-Video accessories will be also used for collecting data.

Qualitative data: Qualitative data will be collected from official records, policy documents, published reports of similar projects, journals and literature form social science discipline.

Sample size

The sample of the study was 100 households including both job cardholders and non-job cardholders of Dehradun district to make calculation easy. Here, non-job cardholder (non-beneficiaries) households will be selected to explore the reasons for their non-participation in the MGNRES activities. Out of 100 households, 40 households are not having job card.

Data Analysis Techniques

In this study, univariate and bivariate tables will have been prepared. The data will be analysed by using simple statistical tools such as ‘averages’ and ‘percentages’. Further, to analyse the significant difference between income and consumption pattern, t test (test of significance) will be applied. The analysed data will be used to prepare the report from which inferences will be drawn and conclusions will be arrived.

DELIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

  • The study will be delimited to the Dehradun district
  • Further, only 100 households including both job cardholders and non-job cardholders will be selected for the present study.

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