Tuesday, October 4, 2011

MNREGA is killing Agriculture..

MNREGA (http://nrega.nic.in/netnrega/home.aspx) is a program that has been promoted by the Central government to guarantee 100 days of work to the rural populace. While the government lauds its achievement in providing employment to the rural folks, thereby improving their standard of living (especially women which constitute 50% of the program beneficiary), but in reality it is just another welfare scheme to garner easy votes!

This program is making people lazy, incapacitating their ability to do any form of hard work and killing agriculture - We are seeing this first hand.

Typically, the program lasts for one to two weeks at a stretch spread across the calendar year. Activities such as forming bunds, desilting of water tanks, widening of roads etc are generally executed. Although it sounds like a great program where local population is not only gaining employment but also improving the village infrastructure; but the irony is the work day pretty much ceases at a time when government officials typically get to office - the day starts at 7:00 am and by 10:00 am people can be seen taking naps under trees, chatting, and even walking back to their homes. Earning Rs 100 for 2-3 hours of nominal work sounds like a pretty good deal. Why would they work on our farm for 7 hours for a little more than that? There have been reports that some of our honorable MPs are even considering to extending this program to 300 days.

Farm labour is becoming scarce in India and more so in south India where literacy rates are higher and standard of living is much higher compared to the rest of the country (thanks to the freebies like mixers, washing machines, TVs and even gold! ) . Such programs does no good but only exacerbates the labour problem. I am not sure what the future holds but in my opinion importing farm labour from other countries legally will become a reality - just like the H2A visa in the US.


  1. I am in 100% agreeement with you what is being said is true..

    This program is killing agri and coming days production will be drastically down which will promote the govt to say we need to go for production increase with hybrid and GMT crops.reason we will have less fertile agriculture land .The master idea is behind this ,keep people lazy so that they dont think with all freebies....

    This is far beyond our control...and strategically planned by western puppet indian govt....

    Days are not faaaar to get monsonto and GM in full scale of dominance in seeds/crops where there will be full dependancy..

    More pesticides .insecticides !! Only nature will protect us not the government...

  2. Anonymous -
    You are entitled to your views, however it would beneficial to have your views/thoughts on the blog/comments in a little more elaborate manner to encourage a meaningful debate!

  3. have seen in kerala how this program corrupting people and become them lazy. instead of giving encouragement of hard labour this program made people to mint easy money. even hose wife folk registered for this program to just part of monitory benefit, the panjyat or local body giving distributing money taking their share too. where a job can be done by 1 person now engaged with more than 10 people and looting our tax payers money.

    instead it was better to provide subsidized machinery to modern farming...

    1. Unfortunately, it's all about vote bank politics. Talking about machinery, there was an article in today's Hindu newspaper on TAFE chairman praising MNREGA program for the inclusive growth of the rural populace. I would think programs like these would hurt their bottom line directly.

  4. Here is the latest on MNREGA published by India Today. I hope the govt is able to remove it!


    1. Thanks for sharing. We truly hope the govt limits to certain months of the year when the labor demand is low. Total elimination will be challenging since it can easily become a political issue given that elections are around the corner.

  5. Does a farmer get 100 days of work in the farm at govt rates? I think the way these farm workers were treated for generations has pushed them to MNERGA which has given them a recognition as human being.instead of blaming the govt it would be smart for the farmers to mechanise there operations and look for alternatives like isarel and north America.

    1. @Rick - We would agree with the sentiment about the farmers and in the same vein also see sharp rises in Indian food prices in near future. Israel and North American farming operations are highly mechanized and often very large - neither of which are the norm in India at the moment.

    2. @techie in karnataka present situation is much worse
      2)lot of freebies
      3) heavily subsidized rice wheat sugar oil
      4)reservationin education system and almost no fees (they dont have to spend on childrens education)
      5)free health (health schemes- treatment from private hospitals also free)--they dont have to spend on health issues
      6) free insurance schemes
      7)waiver of loans :))

      so even if they work for 2-3 hrs/day for just a month those ppl will have sufficient money for entire year
      why the hell should they work?
      it will negatively impact middleclass ppl rice present price is 50-70rs/kg against 1 rs/kg:))
      u have to take loan to purchase vegetables
      all freebies/waivers/subsidies etc etc will boomrang on govt(whichever) and will lead to anarchy
      no governemt can stop such freebies-any govt that does will lose elections