Jean Dreze: Last-mile hurdles in NREGA payments puncture India’s techno-utopian delusions

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published Published on Nov 19, 2020   modified Modified on Nov 20, 2020

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‘We are still very far from financial inclusion in the full sense of the term,’ the economist says in the foreward to a new report on delays in NREGA payments.

Transaction failures in Direct Benefit Transfer payments have been widely discussed in recent times, notably in the context of wage payments under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which guarantees memebers of rural families 100 days of work a year. However, little attention has been paid to the hurdles faced by NREGA workers in accessing their wages after DBT payments are credited to their accounts.

These are known as “last mile” hurdles. A new report by LibTech India, Length of the Last Mile, paints a grim and startling picture of these last-mile hurdles, based on a careful survey of 1,947 NREGA workers in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan.

This timely wake-up call extends LibTech’s earlier work on delays and other flaws of DBT payments to NREGA workers, spanning a whole decade. In an insightful foreword to the report reproduced below, economist Jean Dreze places these new findings in the context of the elusive quest for timely and reliable payment of NREGA wages.

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Scroll.in, 19 November, 2020, https://scroll.in/article/978862/jean-dreze-last-mile-hurdles-in-nrega-payments-puncture-indias-techno-utopian-delusions?fbclid=IwAR18EdgoLBM7AQufjUz9FTn-jGZ1TyaJb51s8Ffefnifhd1KJqHDA_ba4dg


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