Rights-Based Legal Guarantee as Development Policy: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

02 Oct 2010
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Summary

This paper analyses the legal framework and policy innovations undertaken towards achieving the stated objectives of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.


Set within a rights-based framework, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is a pioneering legislation that guarantees wage employment at an unprecedented scale and is path-breaking in its pro-poor vision.


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in India has keenly partnered with the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, since the inception of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA to support implementation and monitoring. UNDP has facilitated awareness of the programme and demand for work amongst communities; provided technical expertise in key functional areas; facilitated civil-society engagement in assessment and learning; national and global knowledge sharing; and supported innovative approaches to strengthen transparency and accountability.


This discussion paper -- Rights-based Legal Guarantee as Development Policy: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act -- is part of a series that UNDP has commissioned on a range of development issues in India.


As the programme continues to gain momentum across India, the paper examines the legal design and policy innovations and the extent to which they enable fuli llment of the objectives of the Act. I complement the author on this comprehensive analysis of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA design and paradoxes that face policy makers in efforts to implement an Act. The perspectives offered here will no doubt resonate with policy formulation efforts underway in other development contexts.


Through this discussion paper, the intention is to share information and experiences from within India and provide a platform for further dialogue on employment guarantee programmes globally as well. Going forward, UNDP will focus its efforts on establishing strategic partnerships to enable India to share its wealth of expertise on poverty reduction with other countries.


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