Apropos N Chandra Mohan's column "MGNREGA's second innings" (From the Ivory Tower, February 19), the writer mentions Raghbendra Jha and Raghav Gaiha's survey that showed the MGNREGA failed on three of the four parameters applied. Of these, their finding that the employment generated by the scheme is not translating into the completion of planned work deserves attention. The referred study points out that the trend for 2006-07 to 2011-12 shows an increase in budgeted fund utilisation and a decrease in the completion of planned work (in percentage terms). The nadir was reached in 2011-12 when the percentage utilisation of funds increased to 90 per cent, while the percentage of completed work dropped to 20 per cent. The budget for the scheme for 2012-13 is Rs 40,000 crore (Rs 2,000 crore more than that for petroleum subsidy) and, therefore, it is necessary that the welfare scheme is used efficiently in selecting the productive jobs to be done by the beneficiary, and getting them done as planned. This way, the scheme would contribute to the village economy and pay, at least in part, for itself. Lastly, the food security scheme would make the poor more dependent on the state largesse - for work and food. Is this our concept of a "vibrant, self-sufficient economy"?
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