Accepted paper:

MGNREGS towards poverty reduction and good governance: a case study from Assam, India

Authors:

Soumen Ray (UNICEF)

Paper short abstract:

The paper aims to look at the effect of MNREGA among the poor and vulnerable groups in the north-eastern state of Assam. This paper will also deal with the gendered aspect of the employment scheme.

Paper long abstract:

In the context of poverty reduction, Indian states have been trying out various social protection schemes since last few decades. It has been a great challenge to the governance as the states are trying to empower the poor and vulnerable groups and community. In India, one of the most important welfare programmes is Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) which came into effect from February 2006. It is an important step towards the realization of the rural citizen's right to work and to enhance their livelihoods. It aims to eradicate extreme poverty by giving minimum of 100 days of wage employment per household in a year. This paper sets out to describe the achievement vis-à-vis the objective of MGNREGS in the state of Assam during the last three years. Data used in this article has been sourced from the Government of Assam. In addition to that, field visits were undertaken in five districts to triangulate the data. This study observes that employment under MGNREGA has declined consistently from 1.79 million man-days in 2010-11 to 1.21 million in 2012-13. Accordingly the expenditure pattern has decreased substantially during the last three years. This reflects that the dependency on MGNREGA is constantly decreasing. Though MGNREGA has the potential to improve services for women, no substantial result is visible, as the participation of women in MGNREGA work has been stagnant for last three years.

panel P017
Governance, development and the state in South Asia