Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) as Social Safety Net: Analysis of Public Works in Odisha, India

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Social safety nets are transfers targeted to the poor or vulnerable. They facilitate access to health and education services to build human capital. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (earlier known as Millennium Development Goals), national and state governments as well as international organisations have focused on increasing the investments in social transfer programmes. Public works are the policy instruments for mitigating the negative effects of climatic and systematic risks on poor farmers and unskilled and semi-skilled workers. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is the largest social protection programme in the world that provides 100 days of unskilled wage employment to any household residing in rural areas whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. In the state of Odisha the MGNREGA scheme is widely implemented. However, the irregularities involved in the implementation of this social protection programme are of great concern. The present study focuses on the implementation of MGNREGA in three districts of western Odisha. The study has tried to identify the bottleneck in the success of MGNREGA scheme.

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