ESS Paper Series (SECSOC) - ESS 49

National experiences in building social protection floors. India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme

This study reviews the legislation and implementation of the Indian Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the light of the provisions of Recommendation No. 202.

The MGNREGA is a major initiative in terms of social security extension in India today, and the base of biggest employment programme in the world. It is a central pillar of India’s national social protection floor. Since its inception in 2006 the national employment guarantee scheme based on the MGNREGA has provided a source of income to rural workers, increased wage rates, achieved high female participation rates and created durable assets. The local Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) have been empowered and involved in the processes of planning and monitoring. However, this success has been tainted by shortcomings in implementation such as rationing of employment, delayed wage payments, the failure to pay allowances, and ensuring quality of assets, as well as their maintenance.