The world’s biggest Employment Guarantee Program, India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGs) has been in operation from the year 2005 following the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Act( NREGA, hereafter) being passed by the parliament of India. The program is self-targeted in nature and is designed to provide 100 days of employment to rural households and to serve as safety net. The enactment of the act can be seen as a significant step towards the initiative to operationalize the right to work as per the directive principles of Indian constitution. More broadly its aim is to reduce rural poverty by creating productive rural infrastructure to foster economic growth. The current study looks at the performance of NREGA in the state of Bihar where despite of need, the uptake of the program is low. The study is an analysis of the performance of NREGA in Bihar from three perspective, the overall man days of employment generated to the beneficiaries, the participation of women and the ratio of job cards issued vis a vis actual participation of beneficiaries in the program. The study is based on the primary data through in depth interviews and focus group discussion in six Gram Panchayats of Muzaffarpur and Gaya Districts of the state. The study reveals on the basis of primary data that in Bihar the perfor-mance of NREGA is much influenced by the prevailing social structures formed due to, socio-economic situations and socio-political situation that exists since past and which influence the proximate reasons as mentioned in the literature. It also reveals the inherent gaps in the design of the program. The paper points out that the structures that exist in the society influence the implementation processes of NREGs in the state and explains how it hinders the functioning of PRIs (the prime implementation body of NREGS) which results in low performance of the act. This paper also tries to analyse the im-portance of designing the program keeping into account the complex the existing social structure to meet its objective to provide economic safety net for the rural poor and eventually reduce poverty.

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Keywords NREGA, NREGs, Performance, Participation, Uptake, India, Bihar, Muzafferpur, Gaya
Thesis Advisor Fischer, Andrew
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Series Poverty Studies and Policy Analysis (POV)
Sanyal , Subhendra Nath. (2011, December 15). Implementation of MGNREGA in Bihar. Poverty Studies and Policy Analysis (POV). Retrieved from