About the Speaker:
Rob Jenkins is a Professor of Political Science, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). He is the coeditor (with Loraine Kennedy and Partha Mukhopadhyay) of Power Policy and Protest: The Politics of India’s Special Economic Zones (Delhi: Oxford, 2014), and is the coauthor of a forthcoming monograph: Rob Jenkins and James Manor, Politics and the Right to Work: India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (London: Hurst, 2016).
About the Lecture:
February 2016 marks a decade since India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (NREGA) came into force. Politics has infused almost every aspect of NREGA – its design, the process by which the Act has been implemented, and efforts over the years to reform its rules and procedures. The intensely political nature of NREGA has continued from the Manmohan Singh government (2004-14), which introduced NREGA, to the current government of Narendra Modi, which has overseen its execution over the past two years. A careful analysis of NREGA’s political dimensions – as expressed at the local, state, and national levels – yields important insights concerning the nature of the Indian state, the significance of the country’s rights-based approach to promoting human development, and the difficulties inherent in tracking the effects of policy change on such complex phenomena as political clientelism and democratic decentralization.