Hunger, in addition to nuclear war, is complex issue which humanity is mostly concerned about in the world. One might claim that famine is the worst issue as there is no evidence if a nuclear war will occur, while the rate of starvation will rise higher and higher (Seebohm 1984, 3). Statistically, the total number of people suffering from hunger globally equals to approximately 1.02 billion (FAO 2009 quoted in Sui-Lin Nah and Chi-Fai Chau 2010, 544). Annually, famine and malnutrition, as major reasons, account for more than 50% of the mortality of children, which is around 6 million (FAO 2005 quoted in Sui-Lin Nah and Chi-Fai Chau 2010, 544). In the case of India, there are 1.2 billion inhabitants. A quarter of them are facing the problem of hunger seriously (Colin Clark 1972, 2019). As there is an accelerated growth and prosperity in India’s economy, the country is proposing possible ways of alleviating famine. One of India’s suggestions is the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the MGNREGA. Discussing advantages and limits of the program, this paper will demonstrate that India’s guarantee scheme can be considered a good solution for famine.
The government of India has suggested an approach called the MGNREGA for poverty reduction. This program was launched in September 2005 by the central government of India. The major focus of the scheme is that it provides 100 days of paid employment to every household from rural areas. The goal of the act is to increase earnings of the villagers. Adult members of households do a wide range of laborious work which does not require any specific skills. What is more, the program has covered sufficient amounts of slow-developing rural areas of India: 200 – in the first stage, 130 – in the second stage, the remaining part – in the third stage (Pulak Mishra, Bhagirath Behera and Narayan Chandra Nayak 2010, 458).
As the actual emphasis of the MGNREGA is a minimization of poverty, there should be a question as to how these two situations are linked. Poverty and hunger are concepts which are closely connected with each other. Precisely, if there is an existence of poverty, there is a high probability of hunger. N. C. Saxena (2002, 6) cites that “Hunger can thus be a cause as well as a result of poverty” which leads to claim that one of these concepts, for example, poverty should be eradicated in order to alleviate the consequences of hunger.
Although the national project was launched less than a decade ago, much has been written and discussed about it providing evidence of success during the guarantee scheme’s implementation. From the beginning of the program, around one-third of the people from rural areas of India were provided with work under the NREGS in 2009-2010. A noticeable fact is that in a survey taken in six states, almost 70% of the participants replied that the scheme was helpful for them in preventing hunger (Drèze and Khera 2009 quoted in Mark Curtis, Celso Marcatto and Swati...