A Sovereign Guarantee For Jobseekers

The jobs situation in the country is grim. If the Modi government needed a reminder, India’s youth has given it in the form of Agniveer-related protests. Modi’s advisors want him to emulate the much-criticised MGNREGA scheme in urban areas along with universal basic income, an idea that Rahul Gandhi proposed in 2019. Can a job guarantee scheme hit the bull’s eye in towns and cities?

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, he called the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) the epitome of the failure of Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. Among other things, he had ridden to victory on the wave of his jobless growth tirade against the UPA II government. During the campaign, he had proposed an economic model that preferred creating jobs in the formal economy over doling out cash to villagers for digging ponds under the MGNREGA scheme.