How can the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme become more sensitive to children’s rights?: Experiences and recommendations from Dungarpur district, Rajasthan

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Save the Children Finland

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is one of the largest public works programmes in human history. The overarching aim of MGNREGA is to enhance the livelihood security of the rural poor by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. In addition to the above aim, the act seeks to empower marginalized communities, to enhance democratic governance, and to further decentralization. MGNREGA is considered a historic piece of legislation because for the first time it recognizes the right to work as a fundamental right implicit in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

To achieve the objectives, the government has institutionalized an array of innovative provisions under MGNREGA- notable among them are self-targeting, demand for work, equal wages for men and women, reservation of one-third jobs for women, crèches for children, local employment, and social audits.

This report examines the effect MGNREGA programmes are having on children. As part of Save the Children’s Child Sensitive Social Protection project in Dungarpur district, short assessments were carried out that show mother’s employment has led to negative impacts on children in terms of education, health, nutrition and care. Save the Children further examines the impact of MGNREGA on children and provides recommendations for promoting positive outcomes for children.

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