Government schemes and their implementation - MGNREGA

Why in news

Recently, the committee had a meeting and was given three months to submit suggestions on MGNREGA. The Central Government has constituted a committee to review the implementation of MGNREGA (the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and assess the program's efficacy as a poverty alleviation tool. The committee is directed by the former secretary of rural development, Amarjeet Sinha.


  • The act was passed in 2005.
  •  The scheme guarantees 100 days of employment to unskilled workers per year for every household that wants it. 
  • Currently, 15.51 crore workers are enrolled in the scheme. 
  • It was created as a poverty-alleviation tool to provide rural workers with employment and a safety net as a wage. 

The task of the committee

  • The Sinha committee is assigned to study the factors behind the demand for MGNREGA work, their expenditure trends, inter-state variations, and the composition of work. 
  • The committee will suggest changes and governance structures required to make MGNREGA more efficient and effective. 
  •  The present committee will look at the argument that the cost of providing work has also gone up since the scheme was first implemented. 
  • The committee needs to review the reasons and recommend the steps to bring the focus to poorer areas. 
  • The member of the committee said that an open-ended scheme like MGNREGA always shows sharp contrast; for example, in Bihar, where the poverty level is high, more work is needed to make a big difference. 
  • On the other hand, there is Kerala, which is economically better and has been utilizing this in such a manner that it is using this scheme as an asset-creating tool. 
  • It is clear that Bihar needs MGNREGA more, but funds will still be given to Kerala according to the program's current structure. 


  • According to the experts, poor states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand have been unable to use the scheme optimally to alleviate poverty. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have high rates of poverty. 
  •  While the states that are economically better off, like Kerala, use this scheme as an asset-creation tool. 
  •  In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed MGNREGA a "living monument of the failure of the Congress Government. In his speech in parliament; he said that "even after so many years of power, all you could do was give work to the poor people only for a few days." 
  • Economists like Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya describe MGNREGA as an "inefficient tool to shift the income of the poor." 

Merits of MGNREGA

  • Regardless of all the critics, MGNREGA acted as a safety net during the pandemic. 
  • The number of person-days of work rose drastically to 389 crores in 2020-21 in relation to the previous year's figure of 265 crores, 
  • In 2021–22, the demand for MGNREGA work rose, and 363 crore person days of work were generated. 
  • As per the current statistics, 196 crore person-days of work have already been guaranteed this year. 


  • The critics slammed the scheme for lacking tangible asset creation. 
  • The committee will investigate whether the composition of work currently undertaken under the scheme should be changed. It will also review whether it should focus more on community-based assets or individual works. 
  • With four months until the fiscal year ends, Rs 59,420 crores of the Rs 73,000 crores sanctioned for the scheme have already been spent. 
  • Rs. 25,000 crores were recently requested by the Rural Development Ministry from the Finance Ministry for the anticipated expenditure before the financial year ends. 


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