Socio-Economic Current Affairs - 2020

MGNREGA world’s largest public works programme: World Bank Report

World Bank has ranked the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MGNREGA) as the world’s largest public works programme.

It was revealed in recently released World Bank Group’s report titled The State of Social Safety Nets 2015.

Report Highlights

  • MGNREGA (under Ministry of Rural Development) provides social security net to 182 million beneficiaries i.e. almost 15 per cent of the India’s population.
  • Mid-day meal scheme (under Ministry of Human Resource Development) has been classified as biggest school feeding programme. It benefits around 105 million beneficiaries.
  • Janani Suraksha Yojna (Under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) is top-most social security programme with conditional cash transfers. It has 78 million beneficiaries.
  • Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (under Ministry of Rural Development) is the second-largest unconditional cash transfer social security progamme in the world.
  • Five middle-income countries running the world’s largest social safety net programmes are India, China, South Africa and Ethiopia.
  • The combined spending of 120 developing countries on social safety nets amounted to about 329 billion dollars from 2010 to 2014.
  • There is need to improve the efficiency of social safety net programmes such as social and beneficiary registries by strengthening individual countries capacity to target, administer, integrate and evaluate social protection programmes.

Union Government releases first ever Socio-Economic and Caste Census in 80 years

Union Government released the first ever Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) after 80 years on the lines of the 1931 census.

It was released by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.

The SECC findings reflect the state of poverty and deprivation as well as crucial social trends in rural India such as ownership of assets, marital status, gender dynamics educational and employment in rural India.

According to the census

  • There are 24.39 crore total number of households in the country, of which 17.91 crore live in villages. Of these, 10.69 crore households are considered as deprived.
  • 50 percent or 5.37 crore deprived households in rural areas are landless and depends on manual labour for livelihood.
  • House hold size: Average size of a rural Indian household is 4.93. Highest in Uttar Pradesh at 6.26. Lowest in Andhra Pradesh at 3.86.
  • Male dominance: majority of 87 per cent households is male-headed. Nearly 13 per cent do have a female head.
  • In rural areas of Rajasthan, around 91 per cent households are headed by men. In Kerala 26 per cent are women-headed households (highest among the states).
  • Literacy: Over one-third of population living in rural areas is illiterate. Higher literacy in terms of percentage is in Kerala (88.62), Delhi (86.42), Goa (84.58), Sikkim (79.88) and Himachal Pradesh (77.95).
  • Lowest literacy is in Rajasthan (58), Madhya Pradesh (44.19), Bihar (43.85), Telangana (40.42) and Chattisgarh (39.59).
  • SC and ST Population:Large proportion of the households across the country belong to the SC and ST category i.e. about 30 per cent of rural households.
  • Employment: Rural India is largely self-employed or employed in the unorganised sector. Around 10 per cent households are on salaried jobs of which the majority are in government jobs.