Guaranteeing Rural Employment—Tales from Two Countries

Amiya Kumar Bagchi and Anthony P. D’Costa

in Transformation and Development

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780198082286
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199082377 | DOI:
Guaranteeing Rural Employment—Tales from Two Countries

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This chapter compares two major interventions aimed at generating rural employment: the labour accumulation process in rural China in the period of high collectivism preceding the reforms of 1978; and the Indian initiative to deliver a universal right to employment in the countryside since the enactment of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in 2005. Chinese collectivist labour accumulation far outperforms India's NREGA intervention in terms of scale, inherent self-financing capabilities, productive asset creation as well as distributional outcomes. If the Chinese scheme generated long-term social investment, the Indian one, thus far, primarily dispenses short-term social consumption. The institutional impasse in India must be overcome through rural interventions and innovations in order to convert mass transfer payments into transformational investments that collectively begin to renew the productive potential of the countryside in an egalitarian fashion.

Keywords: labour policy; employment policy; rural employment generation; National Rural Employment Guarantee Act; collectivism; social consumption; social investment; labour accumulation process in China

Chapter.  11299 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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