Skip to main content

Gujarat's poorer female participation in MGNREGA, widely considered a catalyst for rural transformation in India

Female participation rate in India in MGNREGA
By Our Representative
Recently released data has suggested that, in 2014-15, the participation of Gujarat women in the Government of India’s premier rural guarantee scheme of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), at 43 per cent, is higher than just seven other major Indian states out of 21.
The seven states with lower proportion of women in the MGNREGA compared to Gujarat are – Uttar Pradesh 24 per cent, Jammu & Kashmir 26 per cent, Jharkhand 32 per cent, Odisha 34 per cent, Bihar 37 per cent, West Bengal 41 per cent and Haryana 42 per cent.
Relatively poor participation of women in Gujarat, widely considered a “model” for other states to follow, has come to light despite the fact that a just-released report, “MGNREGA: A Catalyst for Rural Transformation”, concludes that, on the whole, the scheme has led to “significant enhancement in their self-esteem, power within the household and control over resources.”
By this standard, MGNREGA has been able to empower the largest number of women, with a female participation rate of 92 per cent, followed by Tamil Nadu 86 per cent, and Rajasthan 68 per cent.
At the same time, the report concedes, it is possible to explain relatively overall poor participation of Gujarat workers, which has been a matter of concern among activists and activists. It believes, “Gujarat has invested heavily in its infrastructure, which allows rural workers to commute to nearby towns, reducing reliance on MGNREGA.”
According to the report, “Less than 20 per cent of rural households participate in MGNREGA in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra, while over 40 per cent of house- holds in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu participate… Lack of participating households reflects either low demand (as in richer states such as Gujarat) or poor administration (as in states such as Bihar).”
Authored by Sonalde Desai, Prem Vashishtha and Omkar Joshi, the report, which has prepared for the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCEAR), Delhi, and the University of Maryland, says, “For nearly 45 per cent of the women workers in MGNREGA, this may be their first cash earning activity.”
The report adds, thanks to MGNREGA, “in 2004–05 about 79 per cent of women from female participant households had cash on hand. But by 2011–12 their access to cash had gone up to 93 per cent.”
Pointing further towards the fact that in 2004-05, just nine percent of the women in this group had a bank account in 2004–05, the report says, “This proportion had risen to 49 per cent by 2011–12, far outstripping all other groups, among whom less than 30 per cent have a bank account.”
Comments the report, “Given the emphasis of the programme on making direct bank payments, this is not surprising. But it also reflects a tremendous increase in women’s financial inclusion.”
The report underlines, “The growth in women’s ability to freely seek health care rose from 66 per cent to 80 per cent in female participant households, whereas for all other households it rose by barely 10 percentage points.” It adds, “In 2011– 12, women from households in which women worked in MGNREGA were the most likely to feel free to visit a health centre alone.”
The report says, “Many of the female MGNREGA participants were either not employed in 2004–05 or employed only on a family farm or in a family business. MGNREGA provided them with a unique opportunity to earn cash in- come, which was instrumental in empowering them.”
The MGNREGA also led to “growth in women’s ability to freely go for health care”, the report states, with their percentage rising from 65 to 80. However, it adds, For all other households it rose by barely 10 percentage points.”

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.

Union Budget: 24 crore people live in the dark, Sitharaman talks of prepaid smart meters

Counterview Desk
The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a Delhi-based advocacy group, commenting on the Union budget 2020-21, has has called it a case of missing wood for the trees, pointing out, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "missed an opportunity to fix the economy, which is reeling under an unprecedented slowdown, with all indices pointing towards a recession."