ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act: Lessons from Odisha

Over the last 18 years, state governments ruled by different political parties across the political spectrum have attempted to expand the scope and vision of MGNREGA. But the case of Odisha stands out in the country in providing additional 200 days of work on and above the mandatory 100 days of work under MGNREGA and bearing the financial burden to pay the additional cost for MGNREGA workers on par with the wage for unskilled workers in the state. In this article, we analyse the implications of the Odisha government’s above decision on the income and employment opportunities for the most distressed communities in four districts and compare them with other districts of Odisha to suggest the need for such a progressive decision in other distressed districts in the country.

Income Inequality

Utilising unit-level data from the India Human Development Surveys, income inequalities in India and in 17 major states for 2004–05 and 2011–12 are estimated. Income inequality was generally high and was rising during the years, notwithstanding some declines in a few states. It is observed that income inequalities among Indians are unlikely to be narrowed down on their own from trickledown effect of income growth.

Is Extreme Poverty Declining?

The latest round of the Situation Ass­essment Survey of Agricultural Households is used to calculate income poverty instead of commenting on consumption poverty across non-comparable data sets. Using three different poverty lines, it is demonstrated that at least 21.1% of agricultural households are extremely income poor. Though the so-called “Great Indian Poverty Debate 2.0,” with statistical assu­mptions on consumption distribution or relative prices, may provide certain estimates of poverty, those seem to be disproportionate to the actualities of the extremely poor in recent times.

Human Development Index 2021–22 and India

The slowdown in the growth of life expectancy, schooling, and income has become a major challenge.

Measurement and Analysis of the Productivity of Indian Banks

The paper reveals that cash holdings, the “growth rate of assets,” the “incremental gross non-performing assets,” and the “incremental cost of funds” negatively impact the productivity of banks, whereas the net interest margin has a positive impact. The paper also benchmarks major banks in India that can be used as an input in strategic decision-making.

 

Poverty and Deprivation in India

Building on the asset-based indicator, this paper estimates deprivation in India. The results suggest that there is a difference in the regional ranking of poverty based on the long-term picture of vulnerability provided by the asset-based indicator of deprivation. It also shows that while consumption poverty could identify the poor as a group, it cannot identify who among the poor are suffering from long-term deprivation, thus seeking a prompt policy attention.

 

Income and Livelihood Promotion through Individual Assets under MGNREGA

The potentialities of individual assets, created under category B of Schedule I of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, for enhancing income of rural households and increasing productivity of land and agriculture are examined. The beneficiaries of individual assets gained, through the creation of new sources of livelihoods, additional utility of their existing assets and a rise in their income levels. The community also gained by an increase in food security through the enhanced productivity of land and agriculture, mainly through increase in crop acreage, yields per acre, and crop diversification. However, a proactive selection of landless households and diversification of individual assets is required to make the benefits of assets creation inclusive.

 

Labour Force and Employment Growth in India

This study analyses the changing structure of the labour force and employment in India using the Employment and Unemployment Survey (2011–12) and the Periodic Labour Force Surveys I and II (2017–18 and 2018–19). The estimates indicate that there was a mere improvement in employment from 2017–18 to 2018–19; however, as this was accompanied by a decline in the size of the workforce between 2011–12 and 2017–18, this does not indicate recovery. The unemployment rate, especially that of youth, remains at a historic high. A remarkable decline in the share of agriculture in the workforce without a corresponding increase in the non-agricultural sector indicates a somewhat distorted structural transformation. A sizeable portion of the female population has been withdrawn from the labour and workforces. 

Acquiring Land in India

The Political Economy of Land Acquisition in India: How a Village Stops Being One by Dhanmanjiri Sathe, Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan (Imprint by Springer Nature), 2017; pp xvi + 204, price not indicated.

Economic Impact of COVID-19-induced Lockdown on Rural Households

Through a series of data visualisations, the article attempts to illustrate the economic repercussions of the COVID-19-induced lockdown of 2020 on rural households. It focuses on how consumption, labour and income, healthcare, access to relief programmes and migration were effected by the lockdown in six major states.

 

Agrarian Structure of Punjab in the Post-green Revolution Era

While Punjab is endowed with population bonus from a macro perspective, the dividend viewed at a household level has placed Punjab farmers in two major difficulties: the shrinkage of farm size and the underutilisation of the dividend. Due to a dearth of decent non-farm job opportunities, Punjab farmers have struggled to pursue distress-coping strategies. This paper focuses on three primary strategies for survival: land leases, overseas migration, and obtaining informal domestic jobs outside the agricultural sector, based on our unique data of 956 landholders and 254 landless households across Punjab.

 

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