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In recent findings, a study has revealed a significant 7.5% decline in the active workforce under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The study, conducted by a renowned research institute, sheds light on the growing concerns surrounding the effectiveness and reach of this important social welfare program.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)

The MGNREGS is a government-led initiative aimed at providing guaranteed employment opportunities for the rural population in India. The scheme entitles every household in rural areas to receive 100 days of employment within a financial year. It plays a crucial role in providing livelihood security and reducing unemployment rates in rural communities.

Key Findings of the Study

The study analyzed data from the past five years and revealed a concerning decline in the active workforce engaging in MGNREGS. The findings indicate a worrying trend and raise questions about the reasons behind this dip. Some of the key findings are:

  1. The active workforce has declined by 7.5% over the past five years.
  2. Female participation in MGNREGS has declined by 10%.
  3. Socially marginalized groups, including scheduled castes and tribes, have witnessed a decline in participation by 15%.
  4. Rural areas with lower literacy rates show a decline in participation compared to regions with higher literacy rates.

Impact and Implications

The sudden dip in the active workforce under MGNREGS raises concerns about the effectiveness of the program in providing employment opportunities to those who need them the most. Several implications emerge from these findings:

  • Increased unemployment: The decline in active workers suggests that more people in rural areas are facing unemployment and higher dependency on other means.
  • Gender disparity: The decrease in female participation highlights gender inequalities in the employment sector and calls for focused efforts to address this issue.
  • Social exclusion: The drop in participation among socially marginalized groups further exacerbates the gap between different social classes, hindering social cohesion.
  • Educational divide: The correlation between literacy rates and workforce participation indicates that lack of education and skills development may be hindering individuals from availing themselves of the scheme's benefits.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Identifying the causes behind this decline in active workforce is crucial for devising effective solutions. While the study does not provide specific reasons, it opens avenues for further research and proposes some plausible causes and potential solutions:


  • Inadequate awareness: Lack of awareness about MGNREGS and its benefits could be a significant barrier to participation. Increasing awareness campaigns in rural areas is vital to address this issue.
  • Administrative inefficiencies: Inefficient implementation and operational challenges at the ground level could discourage individuals from actively participating in the scheme. Streamlining administrative processes is necessary to ensure efficient delivery.
  • Limited job opportunities: Insufficient job opportunities within the scheme may discourage individuals from seeking employment, leading to decreased participation. Diversifying the types of work offered under MGNREGS can attract a larger workforce.


  • Intensive campaigns: Promoting awareness about the scheme through targeted campaigns can help potential beneficiaries understand the benefits and avail themselves of the opportunities.
  • Capacity building: Enhancing the capacity of local officials and workers involved in implementing MGNREGS can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the program, encouraging greater participation.
  • Skill development: Providing skill development training to rural individuals can equip them with necessary skills, increasing their employability and opening more avenues for job opportunities under the scheme.
  • Special focus on marginalized groups and females: Implementing strategies that specifically target marginalized communities and ensure gender equity in employment can help reduce the disparities seen in participation rates.


The decline in the active workforce under MGNREGS demands immediate attention from policymakers and stakeholders. Efforts need to be made to identify and address the causes behind this significant dip to ensure that the scheme fulfills its intended purpose of providing sustainable employment opportunities and reducing poverty in rural areas. By implementing targeted solutions and focusing on awareness, administration, and skill development, the path to rejuvenating the MGNREGS and empowering rural communities can be paved.