‘Feminisation’ of rural job scheme: Women outnumber men in MGNREGS | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Feminisation’ of rural job scheme: Women outnumber men in MGNREGS

By, New Delhi
Sep 15, 2016 08:21 PM IST

With changes in the labour environment — more men migrating for better wages — more women are working as labourers for additional household income. The scheme, launched in 2006, had less than 20% women in its workforce in the initial years but after a decade, 56% of jobs are done by females, data collected by the government show.

Women outnumber men in increasing proportions in India’s rural job scheme, a trend experts call the “feminisation” of the programme.

The scheme, launched in 2006, had less than 20% women in its workforce in the initial years but after a decade, 56% of jobs are done by females, data collected by the government show.(HT Photo)
The scheme, launched in 2006, had less than 20% women in its workforce in the initial years but after a decade, 56% of jobs are done by females, data collected by the government show.(HT Photo)

With changes in the labour environment — more men migrating for better wages — more women are working as labourers for additional household income. The scheme, launched in 2006, had less than 20% women in its workforce in the initial years but after a decade, 56% of jobs are done by females, data collected by the government show.

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“We can call it the feminisation of rural job schemes,” said economist and former rural development secretary Jugal Kishore Mahapatra. “Overall in agriculture sector, we are seeing an increasing number of women workers. The man of the house may prefer to work in the construction sector or other places for lucrative wages. A woman finds it easier to work under the scheme in her village.”

The scheme, popularly called MGNREGA, is aimed to provide alternative source of income for rural families during non-agriculture seasons or distress. This year, 5.6 crore people have worked under the programme earning Rs 24,600 crore as wages.

Digging fish ponds, making rural roads or check dams and planting fruit-bearing trees are some of the popular works where large number of women participates.

“There was also a sustained effort of the government to increase the number of women workers. It was felt that women would be more prone to saving the earnings than men—an important part of the rural economy,” said a government official.

Rural development ministry officials say that in some states, particularly Uttar Pradesh, the share of women workers is lower than the national average, raising concerns.

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