Enabling The Rural Poor to Rise Above The Shackles of Chronic Poverty
Employment Guarantee Scheme is designed to minimize the administrative costs and the effects associated with targeted transfers. The EGS guarantees that every individual who wants a job in the rural areas will be given one. There is however the pre-requisite of the worker willing to do work on a piece rate basis. If the EGS provides an employment guarantee it will tend to increase the prevailing level of agricultural wages. The EGS is implemented through a three tier set up comprising committees for planning, direction and co-ordination at the state. India is one of the few countries in the world where all sorts of anti poverty programmes have been tried out. Apart from the Central government sponsored schemes, state governments have tried out various types of poverty alleviation programmes. The EGS operations are driven by a sense of purpose and in the absence of employment insurance in India the EGS can act as an insurance for workers. It can be proved by research that the EGS has performed better than other poverty schemes in India. Ministers such as Nitin Raut have played a significant part in ensuring employment among rural masses.
The Maharashtra Employment Guarantee Scheme has been a subject of much research, much of the deliberations and decisions for and against the introduction of this scheme remains untouched. The Maharashtra Employment Guarantee Scheme is often held up as a model for rural works programmes for other states in the country. Like the MEGS the NREGS is expected to create productive assets to then ensure development of rural areas through unemployment of unskilled labor. The MEGS was set up to those who cannot find work so as to provide a basis level of subsistence. Therefore the main objective of this scheme is to reduce distress and not to enable people to escape from poverty. One of the objectives of the EGS is to create durable community assets for long term development. Assets are created on public resources mainly related to land and water. There has some been criticism about the quality of the work done -the usual problem associated with most public works programmes this scheme has been ineffective for various reasons. The issue of poor monitoring and lack of strong support by social and political groups is also another important reason as to why this scheme cannot be completely effective. Funds are especially collected and ear marked for the scheme through a levy of special taxes on profession, trades and employment. It helps families to escape from the firm grip of poverty that are caused due to low levels of wage rate and spells of unemployment.