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New Publication out: All’s Well that Ends in a Well: An Economic Evaluation of MGNREGA Wells in Jharkhand

All’s Well that Ends in a Well: An Economic Evaluation of MGNREGA Wells in Jharkhand

By Anjor Bhaskar and Pankaj Yadav,
Contribution Price: Rs. 200; 130 pages
Published: 2015
Publisher: Institute for Human Development.
ISBN: 978-81-88315-48-2

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has been widely considered to be the most important public works programme for improving livelihoods of the rural poor in independent India. It provides employment ot nearly 7.5 crore persons every year. However, the programme has often been criticizes for not creating durable and productive assets.
Based on a survey of close to 1000 irrigation wells constructed under MGNREGA in rural Jharkhand, this study provides an objective and comprehensive picture of the costs and benefits of construction of wells under MGNREGA, which are by far the most important asset under the programme, both in terms of number and expenditure. The study finds that wells have transformed the lives of thousands of rural poor by increasing their income from agriculture. This study is the first of its kind as it attempt to objectively measure the overall return on investment on an MGNREGA asste. Even after accounting for all the losses incurred on account of abandoned and missing wells, MGNREGA wells still offer a return on investment of around 6 percent, which is quite encouraging. Overall this study shows the potential of NREGA for raising productivity and incomes through asset creation in a poor region like Jharkhand. The study will be useful for those interested in rural development in general and those involved with the rural employment guarantee programme in particular.

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