Not NYAY but improved MNREGA with payment against consideration. By Hem Raj Jain

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‘Nyuntam Aay Yojana’, the NYAY (Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme) announced by Congress Party on March, 25 has generated political storm in India, which is in Parliamentary election mode. Under NYAY Congress has promised to give cash benefit of Rs 6 Thousand per month directly in bank accounts of preferably female member of the family to about 50 million families of 5 members which will benefit the poor (who’s monthly income is less than Rs 12 Thousand per month) and who are ~ 20 % population of India. Hence the financial cost of NYAY is about Rs 3.6 Trillion (Lakh Crore) per year in a phased manner of 3-4 years.

Some parties (including ruling BJP) are skeptical that NYAY may not be practical because identification of beneficiaries may be difficult or financial resources may not be available without disturbing fiscal balance or its efficient implementation is doubtful. All these apprehensions are not well founded rather on these counts there is no danger of NYAY getting failed. Moreover removing poverty is a commendable exercise.

The main problem with NYAY is that it will damage the working culture of India (which is against vital national interest) by giving money without any consideration when cash will be transferred in beneficiary’s bank account without getting any labor / work from the beneficiary. Therefore in place of NYAY the improved rural employment guarantee program MNREGA (may be with different name for employment to rural and urban sectors), as given below, is the need of the hour:-

(1)- MNREGA should not be for limited period of (say) 100 days per year rather it should be available for whole year.

(2)- Minimum wages per person per day in MNREGA should be Rs. 240 per day (of 8 working hours) which will make income of one family (of two working members) Rs 12 Thousand per month (with 25 working days per month)

(3)- It should be mandatory in MNREGA to give employment to any job seeker within a month

(4)- This improved MNREGA should be implemented by Government of India (and not by States and their Local Bodies) for creating economic assets like railway lines, roads, bridges, farming, irrigation, dams (large, medium, small), government buildings (residential and commercial to be given on rent to be decided by ‘Rent Commission’), forestation etc

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