Plug the gaps: Aadhar and MGNREGA -Anjor Bhaskar and Preeti Singh

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published Published on Sep 18, 2020   modified Modified on Sep 20, 2020

-The Telegraph

Survey by Indian School of Business in Jharkhand reveals mass deletion of genuine job cards during linkage

India’s economy is going through an unprecedented crisis of unemployment. In these times, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme and other welfare programmes are beacons of hope for India’s large rural population. However, the delivery of welfare has traditionally suffered from leakages. Thus, in 2015-16, the Government of India started linking these programmes with the Aadhaar — ostensibly to reduce leakages by deleting duplicate, fake or ghost beneficiaries. According to the GoI, till December 2019, this verification and deletion led to savings of Rs 24,162.09 crore in MGNREGA alone.

But this linkage with Aadhaar involves a trade-off — the effort to reduce leakages can result in the exclusion of genuine beneficiaries. What has been the overall impact of this linking process? We sought this answer through a recent study of MGNREGA in Jharkhand supported by the Digital Identity Research Initiative at the Indian School of Business. We surveyed 2,907 workers in eight villages, three blocks and three districts of Jharkhand from May 2019 to February 2020. In our sample, the job cards of over 40 per cent of the workers had been deleted.

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The Telegraph, 18 September, 2020,

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