With India’s low life expectancy largely reflecting deaths from preventable diseases, the most significant gains in health would come from population-wide preventive measures. Access to public health care services varies substantially, resulting in many people turning to private-sector providers who mainly serve those who can pay.

A common criticism of the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme is that it does not lead to the creation of permanent assets and a sustained increase in incomes. This fi eld study of the construction of wells in one block in Ranchi district of Jharkhand shows that asset creation under this programme can result in the creation of income-generating assets.