Institute for Social and Economic Change

Working Paper: 374

MGNREGA Job Sustainability and Poverty in Sikkim

Marchang Reimeingam



MGNREGA rural developmental works undertaken since February 2006 in Sikkim have achieved a sustainable characteristic by adopting an environment friendly approach. A range of works on water, soil and land conservation have been taken up besides others on rural connectivity. However, employment sustainability under MGNREGA remains uncertain due to the nature of the scheme, which guarantees just 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult member volunteers for unskilled manual work. The scheme is not structured to provide full employment. Employment under the scheme has declined despite the increase in expenditure, which goes more towards material costs than labour. The scheme strengthens the economic well-being of rural households by supplementing their income with an assured minimum wage, resulting in poverty reduction. In rural Sikkim work participation level has increased mainly because of the marginal workers attracted to the scheme. It is envisaged to make MGNREGA a decent rural wage employment scheme by providing full-time jobs to sustain employment.


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