BJP has no vision for the social sector : Aruna Roy, Grassroots activist
Updated on: 22 May 2016
The rights-based approach to welfare took a backseat when the BJP assumed power with its open disparagement of subsidies and the landmark Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA). But the drastic Budget cuts to the social sector in the first year of the BJP are no longer the norm, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asserting that he has made the "highest ever" allocation to MNREGA. In an interview toBusinessLine, grassroots activist Aruna Roy gives her assessment of the BJP's flip-flops on welfarism, and its record on transparency. Excerpts:
Has the delay in the implementation of the Food Security Act and MNREGA exaggerated the drought distress?
Over a third of India is reeling under the effects of a drought for the second successive year. The recent Supreme Court judgment in the Swaraj Abhiyan case highlights the inadequacy of what has been done to alleviate drought distress.
Drought is largely a natural calamity, but unlike other disasters, it is incremental. Therefore, timely intervention can make a big difference. NFSA and MNREGA, which provide guarantee of grains and employment to help fight hunger and poverty, are systemic measures that can address these issues.
This government initially projected these programmes as the previous regime's "entitlement" misadventures. While the ground realities and resistance led to a change in the rhetoric, it still does not accept that this is a legally binding requirement. The SC judgment says the state cannot say it is not bound to follow the law and create a smokescreen of lack of finances.
The Centre claims MNREGA has been strengthened with more workdays and the "highest ever" allocation. What is the reality?