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Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR)
Gen. A.K.Vaidya Marg,
Santoshnagar, Near Film City
Goregaon (E)
Mumbai - 400 065 (INDIA)

Concept note

This conference is part of a research project funded by the 3ie Open Window 4 grant awarded to Yanyan Liu (International Food Policy Research Institute), Christopher Barrett (Cornell University) and Sudha Narayanan (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research). It aims to bring together researchers and practitioners who have been and continue to be associated with theMahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(MGNREGS) in India, to take stock of the impacts of the programme and look ahead to ways in which it can fulfill its mandate in the best possible manner.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005, gave life to what is arguably the largest rural labour market intervention and social safety net programme in the world. In 2010-2011, the MGNREGS supported a total of 55 million households who put in 2.5 billion work days on 5.1 million projects ( with a  budget of Rs.394 billion (roughly US$7 billion) at current prices.

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Since its implementation in 2006, the MGNREGS has been the focus of much debate and discussion both by its supporters and detractors regarding its impacts and efficacy. The programme was envisaged to accomplish many things at once with a primary focus on augmenting wage employment; the works undertaken as part of the programme would strengthen natural resource management and address causes of chronic poverty like drought, deforestation and soil erosion, thereby encouraging sustainable development. The framework for MGNREGS implementation was also expected to strengthen  grassroots processes of democracy, infuse transparency and accountability in governance and strengthening decentralization and deepen processes of democracy by giving Panchayati Raj Institutions a key role in planning, monitoring and implementation (

Owing to the scale, diversity and the complex realities of the contexts in which the Act is implemented, it was always clear that rigorous academic research would be essential to fill some critical gaps in our understanding of the wide-ranging impacts of this program. Over the years, a growing body of scholarly works has attempted to do just this. Our efforts aim to contribute to and consolidate our collective understanding of the impact of the MGNREGS and its ramifications for economy and society in rural India.

The three-day conference to be conducted at the IGIDR in Mumbai is designed to have two parts. The first part, spread over two days, will be academic in content. Researchers will share their findings on the impacts of the MGNREGS on participants across multiple dimensions of well-being as well as the spillover effects of the MGNREGS on labourmarkets, agricultural practices, gender empowerment and so on.A section of the conference will be devoted to invited contributions and specific output from the project funded by the 3ie, while another section will be devoted to a selection of contributions from an open call for papers involving the academic community worldwide. The second part of the conference will be a roundtable where government functionaries, civil society representatives as well as those serving the government in an advisory capacity will discuss and respond to the research findings, sharing their own experiences with implementation and policy design in the context of the NREGS.  A roundtable can involve representatives from the government and select to discuss the findings and policy implications.

We hope that focused deliberations spread over three days will help us define a unified vision of the accomplishments and shortfalls of the MGNREGS and provide compelling inputs to shaping the future of this important programme.

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Ten years of MGNREGA : An e-symposium in Ideas for India

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Creating rural assets using the MGNREGA

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A photo essay on MGNREGA assets

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Call for Proposals

The call for proposals is now closed.

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March 26
March 27
March 28


Welcome and Inaugural Remarks

9:30 AM

Impact on Income, Consumption expenditure

Welfare and Poverty Impacts of India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme: Evidence from Andhra Pradesh. - Klaus Deininger, Yanyan Liu (IFPRI) - Download Paper

Can an Employment Guarantee Alleviate Poverty? Evidence from India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. - Stefan Klonner (University of Heidelberg), Christian Oldiges - Download Paper

10:45 AM

Implementation Issues: Targetting and Inclusiveness

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act: An Analysis of Inter-state and Intra-state Disparities - Sandhya Garg - Download Paper

1:15 PM

Implementation Issues: Political Economy, Accountability

Local Funds and Political Competition: Evidence from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in India - Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay - Download Paper

Social audits and MGNREGA delivery: Lessons from Andhra Pradesh - Farzana Afridi - Download Paper

The political economy of MGNREGA spending in Andhra Pradesh - Megan Sheahan (Cornell University), Yanyan Liu, Christopher B. Barrett, Sudha Narayanan - Download Paper

Payment Infrastructure and the Performance of Public Programs: Evidence from Biometric Smartcards in India - Karthik Muralidharan (UCSD), Paul Niehaus, Sandeep Sukhtankar - Download Paper

3:30 PM

Human Capital Formation, Education, and Nutrition

Can the Major Public Works Policy Buffer Negative Shocks in Early Childhood? Evidence from Andhra Pradesh, India - Aparajita Dasgupta - Download Paper

Impact of the NREGS on Schooling and Intellectual Human Capital - Subha Mani - Download Paper

The Impact of Temporary Work Guarantee Programs on Children's Education: Evidence from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act from India - Shreyasee Das, Abhilasha Singh - Download Paper

5:15 PM

State Level Experiences I

Leveraging Aadhaar for MGNREGA: Looking back on the way forward (A study on Implementation Challenges in linking of Aadhaar to MGNREGA) - Akshay Kashyap - Download Paper


Labour markets and Wages – I

Psychology or cyclicality: Rural wage and inflation dynamics in India - Akash Kumar Baikar - Download Paper

Labor Market Effects of Social Programs: Evidence from India's Employment Guarantee - Clément Imbert - Download Paper

Why Guarantee Employment? Evidence from a Large Indian Public-Works Program - Laura Zimmermann - Download Paper


Labour markets and Wages –II

Can the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme Reduce Short-Term Migration: Evidence from West Bengal, India - Upasak Das - Download Paper

A Simple Model of NREGA, Subsistence and Agricultural Labour Markets - Ashokankur Datta - Download Paper

Short-term Migration and India's Employment Guarantee - Clément Imbert (Oxford University), John Papp - Download Paper

For Better or for Worse? The Effects of an Employment Guarantee in a Seasonal Agricultural Market (updated) - Gary Fields (Cornell University), Kalyani Raghunathan - Download Paper


State Level experiences II

An Impact Assessment of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Churachandpur District, Manipur: A Beneficiary Perspective - Shishi Khawlneikim, PhD Scholar, Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi - Download Paper

Enhancing Livelihoods of Tribal Communities through MGNREGS: The AKRSP(I)’s Experience in Madhya Pradesh - Janmejaya Mishra, Naveen Kumar Patidar & RK Mahajan - Download Paper

Impact of MGNREGS on the participating Households in Tripura - Indraneel Bhowmik & Pritam Bose - Download Paper

MGNREGS and Household Coping with Drought: A study of two districts in Odisha - Basanta K Sahu - Download Paper


State Level Experiences- III

A Study of Sustainable Livelihood Models, Quality of asset created and women’s new found identity - SHILA MATANG - Download Paper

Employment and Asset Generation through MGNREGS: A Gender Analysis in Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu - E. Selvarajan - Download Paper

Poor Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas of Chhattisgarh: Causes and Remedies - Ms.Manjeet Kaur Bal, Faculty,Mr. Neeraj Dewangan,Mr. Syed Parwez,Mr Deepak Biswas - Download Paper

Role of MGNREGA in Improving Land Productivity - Srinivas Kumar Alamuru - Download Paper


Agriculture and Environment

The Impact of India’s Rural Employment Guarantee on Demand for Agricultural Technology - Anil K. Bhargava - Download Paper

An Employment Guarantee as risk insurance? Assessing the effects of the NREGS on agricultural production decisions - Esther Gehrke - Download Paper

Evaluating the Environmental Impact of MGNREGA - Going Beyond Rhetoric - Anjor Bhaskar - Download Paper


11:15 AM

Special Session on Maharashtra’s EGS


Round Table


Valedictory Panel and Closing Remarks