Govt uses off-record WhatsApp, instructing states to cut back work for MNREGA

Part I: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme was operated using WhatsApp to informally communicate about states' fund allocation

Villagers walk on dry bed of Mervewadi lake in Karad, Maharashtra on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 PTI

Noticing a steep rise in demand for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the drought year, the rural development ministry used an off-record WhatsApp chat group to tell states not to generate more work under the programme.  The ministry told state officials that the ‘mad race’ for generating work under MGNREGA could not continue.  It warned that more funds would not be made available soon and that states should ‘plan’ more ‘judiciously’ with the money they had already ...