The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and Women Empowerment: A Socio-Legal Study

Authors : Manju Vani,Y. Satyanarayana.

Volume/Issue : Volume 3 - 2018, Issue 2 - February

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Ever since MGNREGS-2005, the most popular work-scheme in India for the rural wageseekers is introduced, a number of studies were taken to evaluate its performance and impact by the imminent scholarship. The most important task of the scheme is to gear up employment opportunities to the house-holds that are below the poverty line. The idea is to bring these marginalized sections to equity and justice. This research is carried to evaluate the impact on the beneficiaries of this scheme especially, in terms of female participation and the resultant women empowerment. It is relevant to state at this juncture that the relationship between the participation of the women workforce in the scheme is a measure of the inclusion principle, which is directly proportional to their social empowerment. Viewed differently, lesser participation in the work-scheme leads to lesser inclusion in terms of the social responsibilities that they have to shoulder in their individual capacities as public representatives. This may accrue in the wake of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments of India which have laid the foundation of bringing the woman to the forefront in local politics. The level of confidence in the woman increases more so if her financial situation is improved to the extent that she may be able to rise independently to take such responsibilities. Indian history is replete with such exemplary women who not only were able to rise above others in times of difficulties but also were able to lead the society with best of their abilities. Of course, the contribution of their families cannot be under-estimated in this regard. The Constitutional support to the woman representatives coupled with the employment opportunities in the rural areas is seen as a remarkable development initiative recently in India. In short, the paper attempts to verify whether the success of NREGS can be a measure of the inclusion principle in local self governance. It is hoped that this research may set a trend for future national–level qualitative studies offering insights about rural India from a micro-level perspective instead of providing macro-level generalities.


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