NEW DELHI: There is a need to develop a real-time indicator of rural distress by using data related to work demand by MGNREGA workers, the Economic Survey 2018-19 said Thursday.
“Demand for work under MGNREGS may be used to develop a real-time indicator of distress at the granular district/panchayat level,” the survey stated and added that under the current data, it was difficult to identify distress at district or panchayat levels.
Calling for the diversification of works under the programme, the survey suggested that timely payment of wages under the scheme will help to increase work demand. The survey also pointed out the importance of timely assistance to households like in the case when consumption expenditure significantly reduces due to adverse conditions.
“By utilizing information on demand for work under MGNREGS and correlating it with other real-time measures of weather etc that lead to rural distress, a dashboard can be created which flashes alerts from areas under local distress to enable policymakers to act in a timely manner to alleviate such distress,” the survey said.
The timely payment of wages directly into the bank account of MGNREGS worker is expected to increase in demand for work under the programme in distressed areas, according to the survey.
It has suggested a review of expansion of the definition of works and up-skilling the MGNREGs workers.