‘Agricultural work should be part of MGNREGA’

Jannie Delucca

When the UPA federal government rolled out Mahatma Gandhi Nationwide Rural Work Assurance Act (MGNREGA) Plan, it was the very low-profile math professor from Vaishali in Bihar, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, as Rural Affairs Minister who applied the flagship programme. Now that MGNREGA and its urban counterpart is staying more and more discussed as section of the financial relief primarily to the urban poor and the migrants, Singh advised BusinessLine in an job interview that any federal government plan is as only efficient as the community participation. And participatory governance is not a hallmark of the existing dispensation. Excerpts:

The Govt now seeks to handle the migrant workers disaster by MGNREGS would you say it is a action in the suitable course.

We made MGNREGA as a need-pushed plan which was rolled out strictly by the Gram Sabhas and the Panchayati Raj process which decided on the beneficiaries. The performs less than MGNREGA these kinds of as generating irrigation programs or any other infrastructure used to be decided by the 3-tier panchayats. The existing Govt is instrumental in demolishing this process. The Gram Sabhas have vanished. The paperwork and the federal government officers are operating it now. Afsarshahi (paperwork) operates MGNGREA, it is no more the Plan that was efficient and mainly because of which the raise in rural need in 2008 assisted India battle international recession. This has been the natural corollary of occasions in the six many years due to the fact Key Minister Narendra Modi described MGNREGA as the living monument of UPA government’s failure. If the PM assumed it was a fraudulent Plan and experienced a thing much better in thoughts to offer employment as a suitable to the rural poor, then he should really have shelved MGNREGA and worked genuinely for what he believed would deliver. But the Centre crippled the Plan, demolished Panchayati Raj institutions, the Gram Sabhas and the infrastructure that was the foundation for the achievement of MGNREGA but still ongoing to channel cash into it. The net result is that from a individuals-pushed, community-impressed nationwide programme, it has handed on to the arms of a number of bureaucrats like any other poorly-applied federal government plan.

Now, immediately after about fifty times of lockdown, the Finance Minister has suddenly commenced talking about MGNREGA. But if the Centre continues to put into practice it by district magistrates and other bureaucrats, it will continue being ineffective. The achievement and efficacy of MGNREGA was the individuals-centric and community-centric institutions it made and worked on. The existing federal government has an inherently undemocratic and prime-weighty technique to governance. They really do not consider in consultation, because of method and community participation and appear to be to have an aversion to participatory democracy and governance. I suspect over-centralisation and reliance on paperwork with no wider consultation and community participation is the explanation for the failure of their grand pronouncements like Make in India. MGNREGA was a significant action to eradicating poverty by ending unemployment. Work for all is the to start with action to guaranteeing roti, kapda, makan, padhai aur dawai (foodstuff, garments, shelter, training and overall health). People today are all set to get the job done. So it is the responsibility of a Govt to offer get the job done. So we handed MGNREGA in Parliament and this Govt just ruined that Plan. In the existing context when a catastrophic occasion has transpired in standard people’s life and gurus are speaking about boosting not just MGNREGA, raising get the job done times from 100 to two hundred but also a MGNREGA-like programme for the urban poor, this federal government is squarely to be blamed for demolishing an establishment that experienced currently been made and functional.

So you are stating that a centralised process of governance with an over-reliance on paperwork has replaced participatory and consultative processes?

Totally. They have no credible institutions doing work and no collaborative spirit in federal government programs. That is why most of their schemes continue being on paper. There are senior, seasoned directors and individuals who have experience in dealing with the public in the Opposition, but it is in all probability beneath them to consult with everyone. For the to start with just one month when the state was facing a disaster and millions of life have been staying ruined, some magic tricks have been staying performed by lights lamps and clanging vessels. The Key Minister should really choose governance and administration very seriously. The achievement of Kerala federal government in tackling the Covid-19 disaster by the Panchayati Raj institutions is testimony to how a pandemic, or any calamity of this scale for that subject, can only be fought by a bottoms-up, community-participation technique. The five key pillars of the Panchayati Raj process particularly consciousness era, people’s participation, strict vigilance, monitoring and lastly, transparency and accountability are essential to generating an inclusive process the place the Government’s interface with the individuals is in the management of the individuals. The paperwork is saved on its toes.

The FM’s course of supplying migrant workers employment by MGNREGA could entail farm get the job done, what are your views?

Agriculture get the job done should really be manufactured section of the MGNREGA. This will be a help not just for the migrant workers but for the farmers as well. Governments may choose a compact share of share from farmers for letting MGNREGA workers to get the job done in their farms. This action will generate massive employment alternatives. Farmers can technique panchayats or Gram Sabhas for workers and workers can also technique them for get the job done. As the get the job done is true, monitory or social accountability will also be true. Govt can subsidise the farm labour price tag as well like fertilisers, electric power and other farm subsidies. This will boost productiveness. It will result in an alliance involving workers and farmers. Employees will get get the job done at their villages. This alliance of workers and peasants will prevent afsarshahi and after yet again bolster the Panchayati Raj process.

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