Usefulness Of Nregs In Relation Sociology Essay

Dr.B. Anil Prasad [1] 

Abstract

Social exclusion is a relatively new concept with a multidimensional character related to the relative position of an individual or a group or a region in the entirety of society. Exclusion is conceptualised through different social processes and dimensions of everyday life: economical, cultural, physical or mental disability, geographical (spatial), political and institutional. In other words, social exclusion is the outcome of a complex process and certainly not the result of poverty alone. Government of India has launched several developmental programs to bring these excluded groups into the main stream of society. One such program is Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGS).

The present study has been taken-up in two villages i.e., Koral and Rambadrapuram in Gantyada mandal, viziangaram district. From each village a quota sample of 30 MNREGA beneficiaries who were from schedule caste were purposefully selected. As such the sample comprises of 60 respondents from two villages. The data were collected with the help of a structured schedule and Focused Group Discussions. The interpretation was made using simple statistical tools. The study took one week in March-2011. The survey revealed that the NREGA has been helping the people in reduction of migration and to meet day to day domestic needs and also revealed that there was discrimination in some areas.

Key Words : Social Exclusion, Schedule Tribes and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

A Study of Usefulness of NREGS in Relation to Socially Excluded Group.

Social exclusion plays predominant role and represses inhibitions in any human and as well as the society. Social exclusion is a vicious circle and it has been lead to many disparities among schedule caste group. There was a broad spectrum of views on the social exclusion, generally these issues measures in terms of financial and other monetary benefits, nevertheless which plays prevalent role in the excluded groups. Moreover these excluded groups were in pitch dark and voiceless due to exclusion from many opportunities. These excluded groups are excluded from the development fruits due to social exclusion and moreover this has resulted in the discrimination. Amartya Sen draws attention to various meanings and dimensions of the concept of social exclusion (Sen 2000). Distinctions is drawn between the situation where some people are being kept out (at least left out), and where some people are being included (may even be forced to be included)- in deeply unfavorable terms, and described the two situations as "unfavorable exclusion" and "unfavorable inclusion." The "unfavorable inclusion", with unequal treatment may carry the same adverse effects as "unfavorable exclusion".

Social exclusion is nothing but, the process through which individuals or groups are wholly or partially excluded from full participation in the society in which they live (Arjan Hann 1997). Majority of the excluded were still at the bottom of the ladder due to discrimination and powerlessness, and this was influenced their personal life and thus rustled in disinvolvement and discomfort of the socially excluded, basically these groups were hit by administrative obstacles. The administrative systems that are control-oriented are operated by a set of guidelines and adopt a blue print approach.

Caste is a term derived from a Portuguese word, casta, meaning breed, lineage, or race( Rajshekar VT 2002), a caste system is the foremost characteristic of Indian society; it is not only make a replica in social life of Indian people but also economic and political performance of people is governed by the caste system. Caste is the uniqueness of a person in Hindu culture. In India, exclusion or inclusion in the economic activities such as production, distribution or any gainful job to a particular person depend by his caste. In Indian society the concept of social exclusion is defined as ‘the process through which individuals belonging to some groups are wholly or partially excluded from full participation in the society in which they live’. The critical inclusions with unequal treatment may transmit the same adverse effects as unfavorable exclusion.

Social exclusion has to be seen as an institutionalized form of inequality, the failure of a society to extend to all sections of its population, the economic resources and social recognition which they need in order to participate fully in the collective life of the community. Social exclusion is a kind of mechanism by which ‘access’ and recognition is granted or denied. Economic theory suggests the distinction between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ groups as one way of understanding access and exclusion. Open groups are those which achieve their objectives by expanding their membership because the benefits they seek increase with the increased membership and outweigh the recruiting bringing new members. Closed groups like trade unions, on the other hand, achieve their objectives by restricting their membership on the basis of some agreed set of rules.

The social obstacles like mentality of dependence, culture of salience domination of the local caste groups, militate against social inclusion of schedule caste people in normal course. The administration has been provided many amenities to protect and exalt schedule caste people, these amenities are not reaching them due to some sociological stumbling blocks. However, a large section of Dalits (Schedule Caste people) still work in the "lowest" occupations (being at the very bottom of the occupational hierarchy, even a small shift results in upwards mobility) and only few are in the upper occupations (Deshpande and Palshikar: 2008). The Indian constitution has endow with great provisions for the socially excluded and a series of measure including both protective elements (such as ending forced labour) and promotional elements (such as allocation of housing, land, etc). (Sheth 2004). Social exclusion has sizable impact on an individual’s access to equal opportunity if social interactions occurs between groups in power/subordinate relationship .The groups focus thus recognized the importance of social relations in the analysis of poverty and inequality. (Mayra Buvinic 2005)

Bardhan et al. (2008) found that villages with greater land inequality allocated significantly lower share of benefits to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. This plays a significant role in the lives of the socially excluded groups and thus it resulting in the prospect, moreover the sharing of the resources also not reaching the quantum of amount to the schedule caste or other excluded groups. Forrester (1974) studied the position of scheduled caste people on the social scale index comprising items like poverty, social status, health life expectancy, literacy and education and found them at the bottom of the scale. Nancharaiah (1990) analysed the economic development of the scheduled castes since Independence with reference to access to land, occupational distribution, access to education and incidence of poverty. He is of the opinion that though there is cognisable improvement in the development of the scheduled castes, it is however not substantial as the community remained as agricultural labourer.

With the amenities and rights provided by the State, the socially excluded groups are able to articulate and enhancing their capacities. Schedule caste communities that constitute status groups share a certain style of life and maintain their solidarity through shared tastes and social activities on the one hand, and through social closure on the other, reducing their intercourse with social inferiors [Weber 1968].

The Article 16 of the Indian Constitution emphasizes that, Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. (1) There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. (2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State. And moreover Article-41, give stress on Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases. An additional body of research charts the consequences of social exclusion for those groups at the bottom of the status order [Hills, Le Grand, Piachaud 2002].

In rural India the problems regarding employment has been surmounted among socially excluded groups, this has been resulted in the migration and deprivation of financial oppurtunties, in the light of these blasphemies the State had charted out MNREGA for the rural sector who socially excluded groups. At last the Act was notified in 200 districts in the first phase with effect from February 2nd 2006 and then extended to additional 130 districts in the financial year 2007-2008 (113 districts were notified with effect from April 1st 2007, and 17 districts in UP were notified with effect from May 15th 2007). The remaining districts have been notified under the NREGA with effect from April 1, 2008. Thus NREGA covers the entire country with the exception of districts that have a hundred percent urban population. In Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh), the district from where the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme was launched and dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister in February 2006. As per 2001 Census Scheduled Castes Population in India is 166,635,700 (16.2%) and Scheduled caste community is primarily involved in NREGA works; while at all India level participation of SC is 29.35 % (NREGA Website 2011).

After inception of MNREGA there was a predominant change in schedule caste communities. The Act guarantees each rural socially excluded household a hundred days of manual work within a five kilometer radius on a casual basis each year. The household and those of their adult members who are willing to perform casual manual labour are required to register with the relevant authority, and to apply for work, each time specifying the period and timing of work. This enables them to combat the impoverishment and other social evils which are facing in their vicinity.

Need for the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the caste as exclusion of backward castes people from social respects and economic benefits, and to find out its implication of MNREGA on economic development in general and in particular of schedule castes. Since the MNREGA playing pivotal role in the development of the socially excluded to enhance their quality of life and influencing the other factors in the society. An expansion in employment through government expenditure will increase the demand for wage goods, resulting in an increase in the production of industrial goods of mass consumption and agricultural output. Thus, the NREGA can not only generate employment but also catalyze economic growth.

Objectives

To ascertain the socio-economic characteristics of socially excluded.

To find out the nature and type of Difference / Discriminations manifests in NREGA.

To measure the impact levels of the beneficiaries in MNREGA and lastly

To make suggestions, if any, for policy and practice.

Method and Sample

For the purpose of study, 2 villages were selected from Vizianagaram district, Gantyada Mandal i.e. Rambadrapuram and Korlam, since 2006 the NREGA has been implementing in these villages. From each village a quota sample of 30 schedule caste beneficiaries were purposefully selected. As such the sample comprises of 60 respondents from the two villages. A structured questioner had administered to get the quantitative data onsite and Focused Group Discussions was organized for qualitative study, to support and supplement the data personal interviews and field observations were conducted.

Limitations of the Study

Illiteracy and untimely hours of work are major problems in the study. Moreover same findings will not be repeated in another study since the present location is dominated by the upper class people.

Scope for Further Research

The study did not cover the finances, other execution problems and systemic problems. In the future other researchers can cover these aspects.

Findings

I. Social Characteristics.

Table-1

Social Characteristics

Variable

Percent (n=60)

Gender

Male

68.3

Female

31.7

Age

20-30

18.3

30-40

28.4

40-50

34.9

50-60

13.4

60>

5.0

Education

Illiterate

56.6

1-5

23.4

6-10

13.3

Inter

5.0

Degree

1.7

It can be seen from the table that a majority of the subjects (68.3 per cent) were male and the rest were female. A majority of the respondents i.e. 46.7 per cent was in the productive age group between 20 and 40 years. Respondents (34.9%) in the age group of above 40 were also found. It was found that most of the respondents (56.6%) were illiterates and reaming 23.4 per cent had completed primary education. On the other, 13.3 percent were completed secondary education.

Table-2

Marital status and Size of the Family

Variable

Per cent (n=60)

Marital status

Married

78.0

Unmarried

21.0

Family Size

1.00

1.7

2.00

3.3

3.00

28.3

4.00

48.3

5.00

10.0

6.00

8.3

It can be seen from the table that a majority of the respondents (78.0%) were married and the remaining (21.0%) were unmarried. As regards the family size 48.3 per cent of the respondents were having 4 persons in the family and another more than one-fourths (28.3%) were having 3 persons. A few (10.0%) were having 5 persons in the family.

Table-3

Years of services in NREGA

Years

Percent (n=60)

2

8.3

3

3.3

4

5.0

5

83.3

The table revealed that majority of the respondents (83.3%) has 5 years’ service and 8.3 percent of the respondents stated they have 2 years of service in the NREGA.

Table-4

Satisfaction towards the NREGA

Variable

Percent (n=60)

Satisfied

93.3

Dissatisfied

6.7

Reason for Dissatisfaction

Poor Quality and useful for some sections

6.7

A majority of the respondents (93.3%) stated that they were satisfied towards MNREGA implementation, and a very small sample (6.7%) were dissatisfied, those who dissatisfied stated that, due to poor quality and no useful works were carried out.

Table-5

Discrimination by NREGA personnel

Discrimination

Percent (n=60)

Yes

15.0

No

85.0

Incidents

At Measurement Stage

15.0

The table revealed that 85.0 percent of the respondents sated that there was no discrimination manifested by NREGA personnel and those who expressed discrimination due to measurement stage of works they noticed. As regards to incidents of discrimination 15.0 per cent of the respondents expressed that at the stage of measurement they noticed caste discrimination.

Table-6

MNREGA can reduce food insecurity among socially excluded

Variable

Percent (n=60)

Agree

63.3

Disagree

28.3

No Idea

8.4

A majority of the respondents (63.3%) stated that they were agree that the MNREGA can reduce food insecurity among excluded groups and 28.3 per cent of the respondents were disagree.

Table-7

Impact indicator

Variable

Percent (n=60)

Increase in Savings

31.7

Increase in Assets

30.0

Increase in Food intake

70.0

Reduction in Migration

73.3

Reduction in Child Labour

70.0

The data revealed that, a majority of the respondents (73.3%) stated that there was reduction in migration and 70.0 percent of the respondents stated that there was reduction in child labour and increase in food intake.

Table-8

Discrimination in Payments

Variable

Percent (n=60)

Yes

33.3

No

66.7

If Yes, State the Reason*

First payments for Higher caste people

66.7

Less Payments for Schedule caste people

25.0

*Multipule Responses

A majority of the respondents (66.7%) stated that, there was no discrimination in payments and 33.3 per cent of the respondents expressed that there was discrimination in payments. As regards reasons 66.7 per cent expressed that higher cast people usally take first and 25.0

Table-9

Include in Social Audit

Variable

Percent (n=60)

Yes

83.3

No

16.7

The data revealed that, four-fifths of the respondents (83.3%) expressed that the persons from the Schedule Caste were included in the Social Audit and remaining respondents (16.7%) expressed that they did not included.

Table-10

Discrimination / Differences in assigning works

Variable

Percent (n=60)

Yes

83.3

No

16.7

If yes, specify

Assigns Hard Work which yields less payments

83.3

A majority of the respondents (83.3%) expressed that there was Discrimination / Differences in assigning works and reaming 16.7 per cent of the respondents stated that there was no discrimination / difference. As regards to reasons 83.3 per cent stated that assigning hard work which yields less payment.

Table-11

Influencers in MNREGA

Variable

Percent (n=60)

Village Surpanch

10.0

Fiedl Assistant

68.3

Village Secretary

15.7

APO

6.0

The data revealed that, a majority of the respondents (68.3%) stated that field aassist influence the NREGA and 15.7 per cent expressed that village secretary influence the MNREGA. 10.0 percent village surpanches and 6.0 percent APO in that order.

Conclusions

The study evidently brought rural characteristics of the people. Lower levels of literacy, agricultural based labour with marginalized earnings and inadequacy of resources have featured in this study. Moreover once again, the study proved that significant illiteracy prevailed in the socially excluded groups. In the study revealed that pivotal number of workers is working for the past five years, and a majority number of respondents stated that they are satisfied towards the NREGA and those who dissatisfied expressed that the MNREGA works are not quality and useful for the some sections of the people.

The study revealed that there was no discrimination manifested by the NREGA personnel in selection and other procedures and those who stated discrimination manifested expressed that at the stage of measurement works. As regards to impact a majority of the respondents expressed that there was reduction in migration, increase in food intake and reduction in child labour has occurred due to intervention of the NREGA and there was marginal impact seen in increase of savings and assets.

A majority of the respondents stated that there was discrimination in payments happening in NREGA, first they pays to upper caste people and then they pay to the Schedule caste people. As regards to social audit, the NREGA personnel include SC people in social auditing process. A majority of the respondents stated that there was difference and discrimination in assigning works, the NREGA personnel assigns hard works to SC people which yield fewer payments. A majority of NREGA beneficiaries expressed that field assistant and village secretary are influencing the NREGA for recruitment or other administration procedures.

In the focused group discussions a majority of the people expressed that NREGA is very useful for them to meet their domestic expenses and as well as to run the family, where as the program is creating some disparities among the communities, this program is very useful to those who have land, where those socially excluded cannot get a bigger benefit out of it.

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