Get MGNREGS right
Apropos of the report “Unrealistic planning, inadequate staff, lack of monitoring adversely impacting MGNREGA” (FE, June 29), given the drought-proofing capacity of the huge amounts of funds allocated for MGNREGS, strict accountability should be enforced; else, it will result in wastage of money with zero benefit to the poor at the time of crisis. The chief objective of the mission should be the creation of productive rural assets like water harvesting systems, watersheds, irrigation facilities, afforestation, protection of catchment areas and boosting dryland agriculture. This will not only ensure food security and fodder availability, but also ecological restoration crucial to precluding droughts and the consequent distress migrations and cattle sales to slaughterhouses, as has happened recently. The past experience with MGNREGS has shown that the scheme suffers from self-defeating shortcomings like tardy payment of wages, lack of decentralisation and myopic focus on employment generation data. These aspects have to be eliminated. Another serious drawback of MGNREGS is that it draws agricultural labour away from farm activities like weeding (especially for millets), ploughing and harvesting, which a small-farmer cannot do all by himself. This is pushing up farm-labour costs and necessitating debts for the latter. Hence, there is a need for including and subsiding these activities under the scheme, so that the small-farmer can cut down costs.
CV Krishna Manoj, Hyderabad
Next RBI Governor?
Apropos of the report “Vishwanathan is new deputy guv at RBI “ (FE, June 29), it is nice to know that N S Vishwanathan has been apponited as the new deputy governor of RBI, replacing H R Khan, who calls it a day on July 3, 2016. However, the nation is eagerly waiting to be informed of the government’s decision concerning the appointment of the next Governor of RBI, after the incumbent Raghuram G Rajan bids adieu in September 4, 2016. As per media reports, four persons have been short-listed for the purpose. The list of probables: Urjit R Patel (incumbent RBI deputy governor), Subir Gokhran, Mohan Rakesh (both former deputy governors) and Arundhati Bhattacharya, the incumbent chairman of the SBI. But it is strongly felt that Patel holds could be it as the others are not associated with the bank. However, Bhattacharya should not be considered as presently she is the best suited bank chief to see through the SBI merger and tide it over the NPA storm. It would also be highly inappropriate for her to sit on the judgment—as RBI chief—on various policy-related matters, which had her prior approval concerning the affairs of the SBI but might be the subject matter of the ongoing statutory monitoring by RBI. In any case, the ball is now in government’s court.