Can Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) Ensure Inclusive and Resilient Growth in Rainfed Areas: Convergence Lessons Learned and Way Forward
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (MGNREGA or MGNREGS) emphasises on drought proofing, soil conservation, land productivity and water security as the principle areas for taking up works under the sub-head of natural resources development. Converging MGNREGS with other programmes to contribute to agriculture growth has been a major policy concern. This paper lays out a case for making MGNREGS more effective in strengthening agriculture, livestock and fisheries in rainfed areas. It builds on the field experiences of WASSAN and Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture Network in engaging with MGNREGS and agriculture in rainfed areas across several states. From this study, we found that MGNREGS is uniquely positioned to make a substantial contribution to drive sustainability, resilience and growth in rainfed agriculture, livestock and fish production systems. Its strength lies in its universal presence, focus on labour, well laid out systems of payments, social audit and intensive coverage of rainfed geography. The chapter also suggests that some boundary conditions for not compromising the constitutional mandate of MGNREGA. Such expansion of scope of the Scheme without compromising its own objectives can potentially have a multiplier effect of its investments in achieving resilience and growth of rainfed agriculture.
KeywordsMGNREGS Rainfed agriculture Convergence of programmes Durable asset creation
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