ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Does EGS Require Restructuring for Poverty Alleviation and Gender Equality?

The Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) initiated in Maharashtra in the early 1970s is the oldest and the largest public works programme in the developing world. It has been the subject of numerous studies that have highlighted the positive effects of EGS on the rural economy of Maharashtra. Yet none of these has furnished concrete evidence for most of these inferred effects. Moreover, there have been no investigations since the 1990s, when both the rural economy of Maharashtra and the EGS have undergone significant changes in size, character and direction. This article reviews the EGS to assess whether it requires restructuring for poverty alleviation and gender equality. Part I of the article examines the concept, design and delivery system of the EGS, so as to assess its effectiveness against poverty and pinpoint its limitations. Part II will highlight the issues including gender concerns that need to be addressed before restructuring the scheme.

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