Rural Employment Guarantee Act


One of the long-standing demands of the right to food campaign (and of the labour movement in India) is a national "employment guarantee act". This demand was partially met in mid-2005 with the enactment of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA 2005). Under this Act, any adult willing to do casual labour at the minimum wage is entitled to employment on local public works within 15 days, subject to a limit of 100 days per household per year. 

The NREGA is a landmark in the history of social security legislation in India and a major tool in the struggle to secure the right to food. However, this breakthrough required sustained campaigning on the ground, lobbying with political parties, and overcoming active opposition from votaries of the "minimal state" (see the archives). 

Since the enactment of the NREGA, a wide range of organisations across the country have been struggling to ensure that people are able to claim their entitlements under the Act. Regular "updates" on NREGA-related activities can be found in the updates page (if you would like to receive these updates by email please send a line to

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