The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), a flagship anti-poverty programme of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government that guarantees 100 days of employment to the rural poor, has come in for a stinging critique from a respected institution.
A study “Evaluating Performance of national Rural Employment Guarantee Act” conducted by the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and Public Interest Foundation (PIF) released on Wednesday said that the programme has achieved only about 50 per cent success.
The study claims there has been data manipulation that falsely portrays a healthy picture of employment generated through the scheme.
“Provision of employment to 10 per cent households in the official data is also doubtful because independent surveys, social audits, and field studies have revealed several cases of data manipulations which explains why national and state level data on employment against demand shows a rather healthy demand,” the study observed.
“We need a simple NREGA without complex administrative procedures for the common man,” Bimal Jalan, former Reserve Bank governor and chairman PIF said while releasing the study.
According to the findings of the study “there were a large number of districts in many states, where the number of households that have been issued job cards is more than the total number of households in these districts.”
Jalan said the implementation process of NREGA has become too very bureaucratic, involving lot of paper work that caused delays.