Millennium Development Goals through MNREGA

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Millennium Development Goals through MNREGA

Lack of satisfaction at the pace of human development in the 1980s inspired the United Nations to convene a series of global conferences in the 1990s to identify the problems involved and to commit the world community to addressing those problems. These World Summits set a series of goals, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which has become the anchor around which international agencies have since tried to organize their developmental activities. The ongoing discussion on the modus operandi and the feasibility of achieving these targets has focused largely on the lack of resources. While resources are no doubt important, it is equally important to adopt the right kind of policies and institutions. This paper argues that a well-designed employment policy will go a long way towards promoting some human development outcomes linked to the Inclusive growth and MDGs. Despite high overall economic growth rates in many Asian countries like India in the past 2 decades, many policy makers in Asia and in international organizations have become increasingly concerned that this growth has been too uneven and often accompanied by rising income inequality. In addition, it appeared that disadvantaged groups, including members of ethnic minorities, people in remote rural locations, and women, have not benefited proportionately from this rapid economic growth. The possibility that growth might leave poor and disadvantaged people behind was highly relevant in political debates in India during the 2004 national election. The new government targeted inclusive growth as a strategy to overcome these inequalities and disadvantages. Indeed, India’s Eleventh Five-Year Plan, 2007–2012 was entitled “Inclusive Growth” and included concrete strategies to promote the well-being and participation of disadvantaged groups (Government of India 2006).

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