It is investigated whether the expansion of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) can influence the real agricultural wage in West Bengal. The time period studied is between 2005-06 and 2012-13 where 18 districts of the state are used as a unit. Three types of NREGS work like, (i) provision of irrigation facilities, (ii) micro irrigation work and (iii) rural connectivity are considered separately because these works are undertaken in a majority during this tenure. These works have been measured as the total number of tasks completed in different districts in the different years. They are considered separately because each type of asset creation work could influence agricultural wage but not uniformly. Both the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors functioning in the labour market are deemed as being able to impact agricultural wage rates. Agricultural wages of a particular district in a particular period is also very affected by the agricultural wage rates prevalent in the same district in the previous period. The dynamic panel approach used in this paper shows that all three types of NREGS work are responsible for the hike of real agricultural wage rates in West Bengal but the impact has not been very strong. It may then, be concluded that, the expansion of the NREGS has little impact when determining the real agricultural wage rate in West Bengal.
The Indian Journal of Labour Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 17, 2017
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