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Bihar REGS: Preliminary Findings from the 2009 Baseline Survey and Next Steps Puja Vasudeva Dutta, Soumya Kapoor, Rinku Murgai, Manasa Putman, Martin Ravallion.

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Presentation on theme: "Bihar REGS: Preliminary Findings from the 2009 Baseline Survey and Next Steps Puja Vasudeva Dutta, Soumya Kapoor, Rinku Murgai, Manasa Putman, Martin Ravallion."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bihar REGS: Preliminary Findings from the 2009 Baseline Survey and Next Steps Puja Vasudeva Dutta, Soumya Kapoor, Rinku Murgai, Manasa Putman, Martin Ravallion and Dominique van de Walle

2 India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme NREGS is the largest antipoverty policy in India’s history (and the developing world’s) –Objectives: Primary: Employment generation + poverty reduction Secondary: Asset creation Other: Strengthening grassroots democratic processes

3 India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme Phasing in: –Introduced in February 2006 in 200 most backward districts –Expanded to additional 130 districts in 2007 –Now covers all 600+ districts in country Centre-state financing shares: –Center pays for: (a) wage costs; (b) 75% of material costs; (c) administrative costs (subject to a maximum limit) –States pay for: (a) 25% of material costs; (b) other administrative costs; (c) unemployment allowance

4 NREGS in theory 100 days of unskilled manual work per year guaranteed on demand to all rural households Apply to GP for jobcard; apply for work Wage: state statutory min wage (daily/piece rate) Wages paid weekly through post office account Unemployment allowance if work not provided Machines & contractors not allowed Projects chosen by gram sabha to reflect village priorities

5 NREGS in theory Mandated worksite facilities: –Safe drinking water –Shade –First aid kit –Creche (5+ children below age 6) Gender equity –Equal wages for men & women –No gender discrimination of any kind –Priority for women: 33% should be women

6 The BREGS Study The BREGS Study: what is the reality? “Gender equality”? What’s that?

7 Background Bihar is one of the poorest states of India Yet NREGS participation in Bihar is one of the lowest in India Why? No demand for BREGS? Or unfulfilled demand, and why? How might coverage be increased in a cost- effective way?

8 Data 1. Baseline survey 3,000 randomly sampled households in 150 villages of rural Bihar surveyed in April-July 2009 5,200 adult individuals, one male and one female from each household 2. Trial pilots to improve coverage/performance 3. Follow-up survey: same villages/households in April-July 2010

9 Preliminary Findings from the Baseline Survey* * These figures are not final and may well change

10 Three groups BREGS Demanders (who want BREGS work): 1.Participants in BREGS 2.Non-participants: those who say they would like to work on BREGS but did not obtain work The rest: 3.Those who do not want to participate in BREGS

11 Participation is low… 1. Participants: 24% of households worked in BREGS 15% of adults worked in BREGS –26% of men –6% of women 90% of participants wanted more work

12 …but demand for work is high 2. Non-participating demanders: Many wanted work but did not get it 41% of households wanted BREGS work but did not participate 36% of adults (43% of men; 30% of women) 3. The rest : 35% did not want BREGS work

13 Does BREGS guarantee employment? Huge excess demand by men and women Signs of rationing –People not issued job cards –People turned away from worksites –Worksites not opened Women who want BREGS work are less likely to get it than men –17% of female demanders actually participated –39% of male demanders actually participated Not yet

14 Are there differences between who gets work and who does not?


16 In many respects participants and excess demanders are similar Targeting of demand for BREGS is good when compared to non-participants: –participants are more likely to be lowest caste, landless, casual laborers, illiterate or poorly educated, poor housing conditions etc. But in many respects the non-participating demanders are essentially no worse off than participants.

17 NREG awareness seems generally low (less so for participants)

18 Awareness is very low for women

19 Perceptions about BREGS

20 Process: Implementing NREG Participatory planning of works Planning HH issued a “job card” on application Registration Adult HH member provided work on demand (s.t. 100 day HH max. limit) Unemployment allowance paid if work not provided Specified worksite facilities to be provided Work provision Work measurement Wages paid on piece-rate basis as per Schedule of Rates Payment in cash through bank or post office accounts Payment of wages

21 Process issues: jobcards

22 Process issues: wages Wage type: –65% daily wages; 31% based on work measurement Mode of wage payment: –45% in own post office accounts –Cash from mates (23%) + contractors (11%) Only about half the time were job card entries & signatures done at time of payment

23 Process issues: worksite characteristics Facilities available –Drinking water (64%), Shade for rest (33%), First- aid kit (16%), Child care facility (6%) Use of machines (37%) Contractor involved (52%) Worksites where work disrupted (54%) –Main reasons: Natural causes (59%), stopped by officers (13%), dispute by laborers, farmers, other (25%)

24 Field observations Critical role of Mukhiya in program; in practice Mukhiya often chooses projects and workers Pressing need for revisions to the Schedule of Rates – through time and motion studies across regions and groups Weakness of transparency mechanisms given high levels of illiteracy Possible sources of leakage Participation of women often conditional on participation of male HH members

25 Next Steps: Pilots to Test Actions to Improve BREGS

26 Is greater awareness the key to expanding coverage, esp. for women? Two key findings from baseline survey: large unmet demand + low awareness. – Awareness is a gender issue. => Pilot an “awareness intervention” –Video on NREGA; incl. Govt. videos but adapted to Bihar –Q&A sessions after –All in random subset of the 150 baseline villages



29 Would greater monitoring and auditing help? NREGA guidelines are not being followed –Unmet demand –Low wages –Contractors galore! –Low participation in project selection => Pilot a “monitoring and auditing” (M&A) intervention –Random sample of GPs get extra M&A –Bihar RD letter sent down announcing M&A

30 Or are both demand and supply side efforts needed? Overlapping the M&A with the awareness intervention => Three groups 1: Awareness intervention only 2: M&A intervention only 3: Both

31 Photos of film showing during awareness intervention







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