The NREGA and Rural Women: Employment Opportunities and Challenges

Dr Sanjay Kumar Pradhan


The NREGA, a self-targeting programme, is intended in increasing outreach to the poor and marginalized sections of the society such as women and helping them towards the cause of financial and economic inclusion in the society. In the rural milieu, it promises employment opportunities for women and their empowerment. While their hardships have been reduced due to developmental projects carried out in rural areas, self earnings have improved their status to a certain extent. However, women’s decision for participation and their share in NREGA jobs is hindered by various factors. Apart from some structural problems, ineffectiveness and improper implementation of scheme, social attitudes, exploitation and corruption have put question marks over the intents of the programme. At this juncture, the litmus test of the policy will have an impact on the entire process of rural development and women employment opportunities in India.

There is excitement as well as disappointment over the implementation of the Act. The scheme has huge potential for regenerating employment opportunities provided there is the resolution of loopholes. The partial ‘right to work’ as an enforceable legal right for the women is a matter of vital importance for the poverty stricken rural women, yet, problems related to the programme requires immediate resolution to achieve durable assets for the rural women.

Objectives of Study:

1) To explain the tangible benefits that rural women have received from the


To find out problems that gets in the way of employment opportunities of the rural women under NREGA;implementation of NREGA;


To shed light on possible interventions to make NREGA more effective and responsive to the needs of rural women.

Key Words: Augmentation, Equality, Corruption, Negligence, Wage, Attitude, Discrimination and Intervention.

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