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

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Govt of India 'lying': MGNREGA budget reduced by Rs 1,084 crore in 2019-20

Counterview Desk
NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a well-known advocacy group for the rural jobs guarantee scheme, under implementation since 2005, has said that the statement by the Rural Development Minister has a made a mockery of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on the floor of Parliament, revealing the ruling BJP’s “anti-worker and anti-poor bias”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Govt of India seeks to 'subvert' autonomy of adjudicating authorities: RTI amendment

Counterview Desk
India's independent Right to Information watchdog, The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), in a statement, has said that the Government of India’s proposed amendments to the RTI Act to empower the Centre to unilaterally decide the tenure, salary, allowances and other terms of service of Information Commissioners at the Centre and States “seriously undermine” the law.