India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), passed in 2005, has been among the developing world’s most ambitious anti-poverty initiatives. By ‘guaranteeing’ 100 days of work annually to every rural household, NREGA has sought to advance the Indian constitution’s commitment to securing citizens’ ‘right to work’.
Politics and the Right to Work offers a detailed analysis of the politics surrounding NREGA: the approach to political change that informed its design, the public advocacy and parliamentary tactics involved in its passage, the political dynamics shaping implementation at state and local levels, the institutional constraints on reforming how NREGA operates, and its complex impacts on the political capacities of poor people.
Based on their extensive—primarily qualitative—field research, the authors examine how rights are being reconceived to promote pro-poor development and the challenges of making states more accountable to their most disadvantaged citizens. Their analysis of the politics of NREGA provides a window into the inner workings of Indian democracy and the complex character of the Indian state as it seeks to upgrade the country’s social welfare provision to match its growing economic strength.
This book will be invaluable to scholars and students of political science, social policy, and the political economy of development.
Rob Jenkins is Professor of Political Science at Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York.
James Manor is the Emeka Anyaoku Professor Emeritus of Commonwealth Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.
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