Sunita Narain’s article “Missing Details” in the Feb 26th edition of Business Standard talks about the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). (Hat tip: A Sarda.)
Creating productive assets such as forests and reservoirs is good for the economy, and should be done in any case. The goal of providing some income to people in financial distress in rural areas can have the valuable side-effect of the creation of productive assets. But when even that side-effect is forgotten and only employment is the goal, then there is a problem. It really becomes a total unmitigated waste when even that substandard goal of employment is subverted by corruption and theft of the financial resources.
Narain says that the details of the implementation of the scheme is missing and laments the failure of what she says was founded on a good idea. I think that NREGS is itself not a good idea to begin with because it puts the cart before the horse. I will go into the details later.
You may ask, why “Google for Missing Details” is the title of this post. The link to Narain’s article will take you to the BS article but only to a truncated version. The rest is behind a subscription wall. Here’s how you get the article if you aren’t a subscriber: google “sunita narain missing details” and you click on the version that is cached by Google.
I am clever like that