Pedal power as the 21st century charkha:Building on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Mainstream Weekly, Perspective Publications Private Limited, Volume LI, Number 1, p.60–70 (2012)



The MGNREGS is a radical measure, based on the concept of entitlement of the most vulnerable sections of the nation?s citizenry, to (limited) fall-back employment legislated by the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 2005. By placing some minimal purchasing power in the hands of the rural populace, it offers them a basic safety net of sorts and a modicum of livelihood security. The long-term viability of this landmark step will depend, however, on the impact the MGNREGS is able to make on the productivity of the agrarian economy through broadening and beefing up of the quality of the durable asset base in the rural areas over time. Basic infra-structure works (roads, water conservation, flood protection, irrigation, drought proofing, soil improvement etc.) are being taken up to that end, albeit not in a very concerted manner perhaps.