India has been taking ample of measures to alleviate poverty and achieve the goal of rural development since its independence. All such programmes measures and schemes can be divided into two categories asset endowment schemes and employment generation schemes. Needless to name them all, however, employment related programmes which gained popularity were Food for Work in 1970s RLEGP in 1980s Jawahar Rojgar Yogana in 1990s and many others. National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Commonly known as NREGA has bee the recent and most effective attempt for employment generation with almost giving right to work to the rural poor. The Act passed in 2005 has brought almost a revolution among rural poor. It has been renamed as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act MNREGA in 2006. It has been devised as a public work programme to address the issue of a rights-based approach to development; provide income security to the rural households through guaranteed wage employment; reduce/check distress migration from the rural to urban areas; and create durable community assets in the rural areas to trigger an overall development of about six lakh Indian villages. The jobless growth of the 1990s stagnation or even decline in the growth of agricultural productivity distressed farmers committing suicide in various parts of the country and increased migration from the rural to urban areas was the larger socio-economic contexts of this Act. The economists have been of opinion that lack of rural infrastructure has been the main reason of arrested pace of development. This Act caters to the need and created an sample of rural infrastructure friendly to agriculture.
But the critics have been equally large pointing out various loopholes in the provisions and poor implementation of the Act. It has been said like other employment generative schemes it has also fallen prey to wrong identification of the beneficiaries wastage of public money by way of corruption and ignorant masses particularly the poor masses. Thus it is high time to assess the economic social and political outcome of most cherished employment generative scheme like NREGA. It was in this sense a national seminar was organized on the issue recently. We are delighted to have a good number of quality papers discussion in the seminar. The papers were discussed threadbare in the seminar and various issues and views cropped up. This inspired us to bring out a volume on the variegated aspects of NREGA including economics implementation administration social justice and rural development.