A primary drought assessment done by ActionAid in 38 villages (covering
districts of Bargarh, Kandhamal, Sundergarh, Ganjam, Bolangir, Koraput and
Nuapada) in Odisha on May 2016 show that about 57% of the ponds and
bandhas created by MGNREGA have failed to work because the structures
were badly planned with the inlets and outlets damaged. An estimate by
Down to earth (1-15, May 2016) says 12.3 million water conservation
DROUGHT IN ODISHA 2015-16
Drought and Its Alternatives
structures have been created under MGNREGA. And it comes 21 structures
per villages. India’s drought related expenditure since independence is Rs.
3.5 lakh crores. 64% of the total expenditure under MGNREGA was on
agriculture and agriculture-related works. From its inception in 2006 to
March 2016, the government has spent over Rs. 3 lakh crore on MGNREGA.
The ActionAid study further says that, 70% of the required food is not there
for the drought affected families since many of them have not received the
ration since February 2016. Thus the government programmes which were
meant to provide employment, protection against shortfall of food grains
need to be very effective to provide a safety net during the drought.
MGNREGS has failed to check migration due to lack of work opportunity and
delayed payment. Roughly 20% people have migrated in the villages
surveyed. These social security programmes provide much relieved succour
at the times of drought. Although government has announced 150 days of
employment under MGNREGA, hardly 1% of the people surveyed in the
village have got 150 days of employment. The drought package announced
by State government and the Supreme Court (SC) of India (May 2016) orders
on drought could provide good support to the communities in times of
drought. Unfortunately not many in the villages are aware about these
packages and SC announcements.