by Dr Manisha Bhattacharyya
Space and Culture, India, Volume 3, Issue 3,2016
This article reports on an empirical research that examined the extent of economic empowerment gained by women engaged in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the district of Goalpara, Assam. The key objective of the MGNREGA is to provide social security to rural households by guaranteeing 100 days of paid employment in public works within a year. Based on nine variables (education, land ownership, ownership of other assets, control over income contributed by a woman to her family, control over the income of the family, savings, access to credit, social participation, cash income earned from income generating activities) and calculated using empowerment index, the research compared the magnitude of women’s empowerment before and after getting involved in MGNREGA. The findings suggest that while MGNREGA is an important leap to ensuring economic empowerment to rural women, but the scheme has not been implemented properly in the district—women and men not getting 100 days of employment, irregular mode of payment, very slow progress and poor quality in public works.