Giving work (and therefor succor) to people in times of distress is not new. We have read about such projects from the time of Sangam period. There is a story in tamil literature when an old lady unable to do such work paid a young man to do her work. The king found he was lax in his work and whips him. The deity in the temple is found bleeding and only then every one realises it was the Lord himself. It just shows that NREGA is not a new concept.
It would worked well under these circumstances:
1. Everything else had failed and people were dying of hunger.
2. The rich and mighty put in their resources and paid these people food and money to build infrastructure which would later yield results.
3. There is no charity and a desperate situation is turned into an opportunity.
What does stats show in case of NREGA. We are told on Social Media that work and pay under NREGA is what is helping out people suffering from drought in Maharastra.
A look at the records in Maharashtra:
Year Drought Proofing
Taken Up Completed
2008 – 09 4,226 678
2009 – 10 2,807 602
2010 – 11 10,070 692
2011 – 12 57,815 548
2012 – 13 100,309 3,979
Stats from the official website of NREGA.