“Righting wrongs through public employment: the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the Scheduled Castes in North India.”
This paper examines the extent to which members of the Scheduled Castes (SC) have benefited from the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme or NREGS, in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The paper offers a test of the relationship between policy outcomes and the share of the population that belongs to the SC, and a test of the relationship between partisanship and policy outcomes. It finds an association between policy outcomes and demographic measures, but no evidence of a relationship between partisan identity and outcomes, emphasizing the gap between the political and social mobilization of the Scheduled Castes in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
What explains the variation in the extent to which citizens have access to government services in rural India? Recent scholarship has often emphasized the varying ability that citizens have to make claims on the state, while other research continues to emphasize the role played by political parties. This manuscript considers the push to democratize at the local level in India to argue that citizen agency remains constrained not necessarily by political parties, which maintain a very shallow presence at the local level, but by the endurance of social norms and inequality. Rather then inducing change, democratization has created new forms of autonomy from the state that have been detrimental to citizen welfare and empowerment. The study has lessons for all scholars interested in democratization, political parties and citizen claim making.