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Rural Poverty and Employment Guarantee Scheme: Reflections from West Bengal

Chapter
Part of the India Studies in Business and Economics book series (ISBE)

Abstract

Public works programme or workfare programme has emerged as the strategic intervention in addressing unemployment, poverty as well as infrastructure building. The central plank of the programme is that income transfer particularly during distress times enables consumption soothing for the poor households and the resultant sustainable assets generate another bout of livelihood avenues. MGNREGA in India is the largest employment guarantee programme in the world in terms of statutory ordination as well as coverage. It has evoked positive expectations as it is poised to reduce poverty, reverse inequality and out-migration and to resuscitate rural economy by improving infrastructure and agricultural productivity. Notwithstanding the prodigious potentialities and few survey evidences on the affirmative impacts on rural poverty, it is equally emphatic that the success of MGNREGA would hinge on many pre-requisites like rolling out of at least the stipulated days of work to the poor especially during the time of joblessness (as in lean agricultural session) and the undertaken works having clear focus on agricultural productivity and rural livelihood. With the general objective of peeking at whether and how MGNREGA is reaching out to areas/ regions with larger concentration of rural poor, this chapter singles out the poorest district of West Bengal (i.e. Cooch Behar) and its poorest administrative Block (i.e. Dinhata-I) and explores the association between the progress of MGNREGA and participation of the poor in the sample district and Block. The analysis of the aggregate official data evinces that MGNREGA has fallen short of offering the envisaged number of person-days, thus it has not catered to the subsistence demands of the poor. In other words, a clear relationship between the outreach of MGNREGA and the proportion of the poor households seems to be missing and this is likely to have little impact on the poverty eradication efforts and outcome. Together with such disconnect, the chapter also highlights few other procedural dimensions which hold up the general fruition of MGNREGA.

Keywords

Employment guarantee scheme BPL Person-days generated Poverty eradication Migration West Bengal Cooch Behar 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central Bank of IndiaCooch BeharIndia
  2. 2.Political ScienceTufanganj CollegeCooch BeharIndia

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