1. Study of Successful Pockets of NREGA

(On-going – 2010-2011)

Sponsored by : UNDP and Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India

Project In charge : Prof. Indira Hirway

Project Associates: Dr Surjit Singh (Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur), Dr Kaushik Ganguly (Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, New Delhi), Dr. Anil Roy (Centre for Environment and Planning Technology, Ahmedabad), Dr Sunny Jose (Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur) and Prof Indira Hirway (Centre for Development Alternatives). Prof Indira Hirway guided the project.

The main objective of the proposed research is to study the performance of selected successful pockets in NREGS systematically to learn lessons to improve the performance of the scheme at the all India level. The specific objectives of the study are to identify the districts where NREGS has done well in terms of achieving its goals (using secondary data), to assess the success in terms of guaranteeing entitlements of workers as well as developmental impact; to study the causes of the success carefully and systematically and to draw lessons, which can be used to improve the performance of the scheme in the coming years.

The successful pockets identified based on the secondary data are located in several states. Though these pockets are not “ideal or complete success stories” the study examines the state level, district/block level and village level factors that are responsible for the success. Five reports for five successful pockets in five states (i.e. Rajasthan, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh) have been prepared under the study. A national seminar is planned to discuss the study, after which the study will be published.

2. Public Works Programme for Gender Equality: Study of NREGA in India

(On-going – 2010-2011)

Sponsored by : UNIFEM, New Delhi

Project In charge : Prof. Indira Hirway

Public works programmes are of great importance for women, as they are likely to impact positively on their life and livelihoods on the one hand and reduce gender inequalities in the different socioeconomic spheres in multiple ways on the other hand. In fact, these programmes can be used as an important strategy for promoting women’s development and empowerment. The main objective of this proposed study is to examine the impact of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act on women’s development and on gender inequalities in a few selected successful pockets in India.

The main objective of the proposed study is to examine the multi-dimensional and multiple impacts of NREGA in a selected successful pocket of NREGA with a focus on gender equality. That is, to study the impacts of NREGA at the household level with a focus on gender equality, to examine the impacts of public works programmes on the local economy, and to study socio-cultural impacts, with particular reference to gender equality, of NREGA works on the village society. The study is located in two successful pockets in Madhya Pradesh.

3. Globalization and Widening Gender Inequalities: Understanding the Dynamics through Time Use Studies

(On-going – 2010-2011)

Sponsored by : ILO Regional Office, New Delhi

Project In charge : Prof. Indira Hirway

Project Associates : Dr Varsha Ganguly, Dr. P H Thakar, Ms Mahua Bannerjee

Our earlier study entitled “Restructuring Production and Labour under Globalization: A Study of Textile and Garment Industry in India” (sponsored by the ILO Regional Office, New Delhi) has shown that women’s employment has increased significantly in this export-oriented industry under the liberalized trade policies. Globalization of the industry has exerted a number of pressures on production units in the industry that have led the units to restructure their production and labour, leading to flexible production and flexible labour use. In this process of flexibilization, workers in general and women workers in particular have suffered in terms of quality of employment. This finding raises a series of questions, the answers to which are necessary to design interventions to reduce gender inequalities in the labour market: (1) why do women suffer from inferior status, as compared to men, in the labour market to start with? That is, why do we observe gender gaps in major labour market outcomes? (2) why do these gender gaps get accentuated under the policies of globalization? How do they impact on prospects of men and women workers in the labour market? (3) what is the impact of restructuring of labour market, i.e. downsizing and closure of units, on men and women, particularly on paid and unpaid work of men and women? And (4) what kind of policy interventions are needed to promote gender equalities in the labour market?

The main objectives of this proposed study is to reply to these questions using conventional data sources as well as new data sources such as time use data. The field work for the study is over, and the report is being drafted.

4. Restructuring of Production and Labour under Globalization: A Study of Textile and Garment Industry in India

(Completed – 2010)

Sponsoring Agency : International Labour Organization, New Delhi.

Project Team : Prof. Indira Hirway (Project Director), Dr. Sanjay Rode, Mr. Rahul Awade

This study examines how exactly the textile and garment units have adjusted or are adjusting to the expiry of the quotas, in terms of organization of production, technology and use of FDI, foreign collaboration, product diversification, recruitment and employment policy, relieving policy, outsourcing and sub contracting, social protection etc. It has examined these aspects for a representative sample consisting of units that include MNCs, Indian corporate sector, units in SEZ, small and medium units, home based units and other informal units. The study has also addressed the questions like (a) impact of de-reservation in garment industry (from the SSI sector) on labour and employment, (b) impact of skill formation programmes on women’s employment and their upward mobility, (c) evaluation of the recent policy changes and special schemes for social protection, (d) social protection needs of workers and innovative models in this field, (d) occupational health and safety related problems of men and women etc.

This study on restructuring of production and restructuring of labour under the neo-liberal policy paradigm has analyzed the reasons behind the deterioration in the quality of employment generated under the new paradigm. It is being published by ILO, New Delhi.

5. From Unpaid Work to Public Job Creation: Towards a Strategy for Pro-Poor Development: Construction of Village SAM for Understanding the impact of public employment Guarantee works on the village economy.

(Complete 2009)

Sponsoring Agency : UNDP, New York

Collaboration with : Levy Economics Institute, New York and India Development Foundation, New Delhi (Dr M R Saluja and Dr Bhupesh Yadav) .

Project Director : Prof Indira Hirway

This study has been undertaken with a view to assessing the impact of employment guarantee programmes on the village economy within the framework of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. Such interventions are expected to have an impact on (1) household income of the poor and improved distribution of income in the economy, (2) production and delivery of public services, which are expected to improve access to basic necessities and poverty alleviation, (3) burden of unpaid work of women (and men) that is particularly taxing for the poor. In order to assess selected dimensions of the above impacts, it is proposed to construct a village level SAM for the village Nana Kotda (Sabarkantha District, Gujarat State), India. The relevant policy question, subsequently, would be: what is the impact on the state, regional or national level if similar types of interventions were to scaled-up accordingly. The employment guarantee works will be treated as external shocks in the village SAM. These shocks will be divided in to (1) social infrastructure (for care, education, health including care services on EGS worksites), (2) economic infrastructure (for example, roads), (3) natural capital building (related to land development, water augmentation, forestry) and (4) assets (farm ponds and other asset building for private farms / enterprises).


  1. Reducing unpaid work in the village Nana Kotda, Gujarat: An economic impact analysis of works undertaken under NREGA. (WP for Levy Economics Institute, January 2008) and
  2. Employment Guarantee Programme and Pro-poor Growth, published by Academic Foundation, New Delhi, 2010.

6. Globalization, Labour Market and Gender Inequity: A Study Conducted under the UNDP Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Initiative.

(Complete – 2008)

Sponsoring Agency : UNOPS, Bangkok

Project Director : Prof. Indira Hirway

Collaboration with : Institute for Human Development, New Delhi.

This study examines the changes in the structure of the textile and garment industry and their impact on the labour market in the context of the expiry of the quotas under the Multi Fiber Arrangement in 2005. The study examines the trends as well as differentials in major characteristics of men and women workers in the labour market caused by the recent changes in the economy in general and the expiry of the quotas in particular. The study covers corporate sector, SSI sector and informal sector units.

Output: UNOPS has put the report on the website.

7. Concurrent Monitoring of NREGA in Gujarat 2006

(Complete 2006)

Sponsoring Agency : Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India and UNDP, New Delhi.

Project Team : Prof. Indira Hirway (Project Director); DR. Anil Roy and Mr. Harpreet Singh.

Research Associate : Anna Suraksha Abhiyan, Gujarat.

The main objective of the study was to provide a quick feedback on the working of the NREGS at the field level for the initial six months (February to July 2006) to implementers and policy makers at the state and national levels. The specific objectives of the monitoring are (1) To assess the working of the scheme in the context of its short term and long term objectives (when applicable), (2) to provide feed back to implementers and policy makers at the state and national levels to enable them to take corrective steps and (3) to assess strengths and weaknesses of the NREGA and EGS in order to infer lessons, if any, regarding the designing of the scheme.

The major short term goals of the EGS are (1) reduction in poverty of the poor at the bottom by ensuring them employment and wages, (2) reduction in distress out migration of the poor and improvement in their access to health, education, welfare etc (3) empowerment of the poor through the rights and entitlements given to them, (4) construction of durable assets to strengthen the local infrastructure and to improve natural resource management, (5) empowerment of women and (6) labour market outcomes in terms of increased local market wage rate and integration of the labour market. The concurrent monitoring has shown that none of the goals has been achieved fully satisfactorily so far, largely because the size of the scheme is still very small. The report analyzes the problems and constraints and makes useful recommendations for improving the functioning of NREGA.

Output: Concurrent Monitoring of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act: Feedback from the Field (February to July 2006). This report is also put on the website of Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India

8. Implications of Time Use Patterns for Public Employment Guarantee Programmes in Global South

(Complete 2007)

Sponsoring Agency : Levy Economics Institute, UNDP, New York

Project Team : Prof. Indira Hirway (Project Director),.

Research Associate : Dr Neetha from CWDS, New Delhi .

This is a review paper that aims at understanding the implications of time use patterns of people, and particularly their unpaid work, for designing of public employment guarantee programmes. The paper documents existing secondary data sources and current research that reveal the amount and types of unpaid work activities that can readily serve as informational bases for public employment creation programmes. The specific objectives of the paper are: (1) to understand, at the conceptual level, why and how an employment guarantee programme need to integrate unpaid work in its designing, (2) to examine how far time use surveys can provide the required database for this integration, (3) to study the available time use statistics in selected developing countries to assess their adequacy for providing information base for the integration, (4) to analyze the time use data of India and South Africa to identify job categories and the related works / assets that can be undertaken under employment guarantee programmes and (5) to make recommendations relating to designing and conducting time use surveys for the purpose of getting adequate data base for integrating unpaid work in to employment guarantee programmes.

Outcome: Implications of Time Use Patterns for Public Employment Guarantee Programmes in Global South, WP of CFDA, 2007

9. Analysis of Time Use Survey data for Understanding Participation of Children in Work

(Complete 2004)

Project Directors : Prof. Indira Hirway & Dr. P. H. Thakar

Sponsoring Agency : United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP),New Delhi

The study tries to examine the problem of child labour using the data on how children spend their time on different activities. An important contribution of this study is that it has put the problems of children in a proper perspective. The study has shown that the problem of children should not be viewed only in terms of their economic activities, i.e. how many children participate in economic activities, but also in terms of how much time children spend on SNA and non-SNA work together so that their healthy development is taken care of. Official data show how many children participate in SNA work and how many children go to school. But no data are available on children (1) who nether go to school nor participate in SNA work (nowhere children) but spend their time on other activities, (2) who go to school but work in SNA and non-SNA work for long hours so that they are not able to devote enough time on study in and outside the school or (3) who are forced to spend time on collection of fuel wood, fodder, water etc or are forced to take care of young siblings or do housework and therefore are not able to go to school. Time use survey provides these data, and therefore provides new insights to the problem of child labour. The study has shown that child labour in India carry two major burdens on their delicate shoulders: the burden of economic work and the burden of non-economic, extended SNA work. The latter burden is relatively high on girl children. Many children are not able to attend the school because of this double burden. A strategy for addressing child labour should be designed keeping in mind these new insights.

Output: Understanding Participation of Children in Work: Insights Emerging from Time Use Data by Indira Hirway and P H Thakar