Government innovative to create waged employment for unwaged workers in India

Ajupi Baruah

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is rights based approach to development launched by Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh in 2006. The scheme seeks to give at least 100 days of waged employment at minimum wage to every volunteer who volunteers for casual work. The act was designed to be implemented across the country, and if implemented correctly the programme could transform the socio-economic landscape of both rural and urban India.

The Act made several provisions to ensure success in even the most underdeveloped areas. These included;

  • Monitoring delays of payments
  • Provision of compensation for work related injuries
  • Banning of contractors and labour displacing machines
  • To ensure the programme was “people centric” at least 50% of the projects had to be run by the Gram Panchayats (local level governance agencies in villages and smalls towns)

One key area in which the programme was focused was Balaghat; an area that had been affected by violent attacks from the Naxals and that had a high number of unskilled works.

The administrators, with funding from MNREGS and other schemes, facilitated the creation of a number of programmes including; Agriculture irrigation, road building, health and education.

The programme was deemed highly successful. Key acheivements included;

  • Wages raised for over 220,000 workers between 2008-2009
  • Significant increase in road construction on previous years, including a 90km connecting 2 major cities in the area
  • 28,000 of new land irrigated
  • New agriculture opportunities explored
  • Drops in migration as people found work in their own villages
  • Decrease in number of Naxal attacks
  • This also had an effect on increasing capacity building in the local governments

This case highlights the how significant community participation can be in both individual and community capacity development and the trickle up affect it can have on local governments.

Year of publication: 
Other collections
Themes and sectors: 
Agriculture, fisheries, and food security
Themes and sectors: 
Education and training
Case story length: 
16 pages

The above is a summary or extract from the original source material. For the complete case story, please see the address given above.