MGNREGS across 5 states in India

Launched in 2006, MGNREGS is one of India's largest social protection schemes that has provided more than 30-billion person days of work till date. It has served as a critical lifeline, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic for millions of people in rural India. The impact of the scheme extends beyond alleviating poverty to improve nutritional intake and economic resilience, supplement farm income for poor farmers, and increase women’s access to and participation in paid employment. Although the program has been a strong rail for rural Indian households, critical gaps continue to undermine the scheme’s welfare potential. With the support of Omidyar Network India, Dalberg released an extensive study titled 'The state of rural employment: A look at MGNREGS across 5 states in India' covering Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Along with understanding beneficiaries' experience with MGNREGS, the report is among the first to spotlight challenges and perspectives of local administrators that can be useful for long term policy action and implementing immediate solutions at the frontline.

MGNREGS as experienced by local administrators and beneficiaries across 5 states in India

Beneficiaries’ experience in the 5 study states

  • Enrolment in MGNREGS

    47% of rural low-income households had at least one active job card.

    30% of low-income rural adults were listed on a job card.

    29% of low-income rural adults were not listed on an active job card but wanted to be listed on one. Of these, majority (72%) belonged to households that did not have a job card at all.

  • Applying for MGNREGS employment

    70% of job card holders wanted MGNREGS jobs at least once during the last year.

    18% of job card holders tried to apply for work but could not submit their application.

  • Receiving employment

    All households that applied for work, received it; but most got less work than they wanted. On average, households applied for 95 days of work against their annual entitlement of 100 days but received 66 days of work.

  • Getting MGNREGS wages

    95% of job card holders who received MGNREGS employment in the last year had received wages for their most recent employment.

    58% of job card holders who received MGNREGS employment in the last year, received their wages late (i.e., beyond the stipulated 15 days).

  • Grievance redressal

    20% of job card holders had a MGNREGS related grievance, and 91% of them sought redressal; grievances were fully redressed for 27% of those who sought redressal.

  • Women’s employment under MGNREGS

    Over the last 5 years, women accounted for more than 50% of person days of employment generated under the scheme.

    6% of women with a job card could not apply for employment and said this was because there was no work available for women.