Rural Employment Guarantee Bill
Today the loksabha has unanimously passed the Rural Employment Guarantee Bill. A consensus on the bill was reached across the political spectrum. Most of the articles that I saw in recent days in the media too were not against the bill, with of course many of them strongly advocating the need to have such a bill. Eminent economists like Jean Dreze have come up with viable ways (using the newly enacted Right to Information Act) in which REGB can be made to work, and work well. (See Dilip D'Souza's post, the comments over there, and the links therein. I particularly liked Vikrum Sequeira's long comment here.)
A couple of weeks ago, I had linked to an article by Utsa Patnaik that appeared in the Hindu, where she argued that there's a strong case for a universal employment guarantee scheme and a universal public distribution system. It did not generate any discussion then. Yesterday Aadisht Khanna had a nice post criticising Prof Patnaik's article and her methods. I don't agree with Aadisht much and I'm not surprised at Utsa Patnaik's conclusions that the sufferings of the poor have only increased in the post-reform period as that's what on relative terms that I notice in my visits to my home village. But I thought Aadisht's post was nice because his post was a genuine attempt to understand the situation and not a silly excersise in handwaving of the she-is-after-all-from-JNU sort.
Point of this post is just to bring your attention to all these, and to invite your comments on related matters. I would also like to link to a related article by Prof Patnaik which has many more details.
Comments are welcome.