Water

MGNREGA: 15 years of moving from crisis to solutions

How the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme been used by India 

 
By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 24 March 2021

What has been the achievement of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act (MNREGA) introduced 15 years ago?

At the time of its introduction, it was called the world's largest social security scheme. But has it been able to achieve its desired outcome a decade-and-a-half later?

To find answers, reporters from Down to Earth travelled across 15 states, covering 16 districts, across the country. What was apparent from their reportage was that MNREGA has come across as a blessing for most of the countryside.

Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment found that 60 per cent MNREGA funds were spent on creating structures that could either conserve water or soil. This scheme was responsible for creating three crore water structures across the country. This meant that on average 50 water structures were created per village. 

CSE’s analysis shows that 29,000 million cubic meters of water were in conserved through these structures created using MNREGS resources. It also helped to irrigate 19 million hectares of farmland.  However, the Government of India has little or no records on the impact of these water structures created un MNREGS.

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