Demand Shortfalls or Supply-side Constraints
Journal of South Asian Development, 2016, vol. 11, issue 2, 175-202
This article presents a political economy explanation for the dramatic decline in performance of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Indiaâ€™s largest social welfare policy, in one of its highest performing states, Rajasthan. The sharp decline from 2009 to 2010 is shown to be counter-intuitive, given the active civil society engagement right from the early stages of the Actâ€™s making and implementation. Using information from field visits, interviews and secondary literature, I unpack the reasons for this decline, evaluating the validity of demand-side shortfalls and supply-side constraints as explanations. I demonstrate that it is primarily low capacity and low motivation of state officials that have led to the drop in MGNREGAâ€™s performance. Further, I argue that the biggest strengths of the MGNREGA, that is, demand-based nature and provisions around transparency, have been made its most pressing shortcomings. Given the political nature of implementation of the MGNREGA, I conclude that Rajasthan needs political engagement strategies rather than merely technocratic solutions if this downturn is to be arrested.
Keywords: MGNREGA; employment guarantee; Rajasthan; politics of implementation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sae:soudev:v:11:y:2016:i:2:p:175-202
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