March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination




THE CONTEXT: Recent official data highlighted a substantial increase in female participation in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) during the ongoing financial year 2023-24.


  • The proportion of women’s person-days in the total MGNREGS work touched an impressive 59.25% until December 24, marking the highest recorded participation in the past ten fiscal years.
  • This upward trend in female participation within NREGS showcases a significant surge from 54.78% in 2019-20 and 53.19% during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020-21.

NREGS Data Analysis

  • The NREGS portal data reveals a detailed breakdown, indicating that out of a total of 238.62 crore person-days during 2023-24 until December 24, women accounted for 141.37 crore person-days, reflecting the increased participation rate.
  • Furthermore, the data suggests a consistent rise in female involvement, reinforcing a steady upward trajectory in rural women’s engagement in this job guarantee scheme.

Regional Disparities and State-Level Participation Rates

  • Notably, while southern states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Goa exhibited commendable rates of women’s participation, surpassing 70%, northern states such as Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have struggled to maintain rates above 40% or even below over the years.
  • For the fiscal year 2023-24, states/UTs like Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra reported the lowest women participation rates.
  • However, there have been marginal improvements in participation rates in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Lakshadweep during the current financial year.

Trends in NREGS Participation

  • The data reflects an increase in the number of families availing NREGS benefits in recent years.
  • In 2023-24, approximately 5.38 crore families accessed NREGS by December 24, marking a slight decline compared to 6.18 crore in 2022-23 and 7.25 crore in 2021-22.
  • Despite fluctuations in family participation, the focus remains on the rising trend of female involvement in NREGS activities.

National Trends in Female Labour Force Participation

  • The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation underscores an overall increase in female Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in the country, particularly in rural areas.
  • The rural female LFPR surged to 30.5% in 2022-23 from 18.2% in 2017-18, indicating a remarkable growth trajectory.
  • Simultaneously, the female unemployment rate witnessed a decline from 3.8% in 2017-18 to 1.8% in 2022-23, affirming positive strides in women’s employment opportunities.


  • The burgeoning participation of women in employment schemes like NREGS reflects a growing trend of empowerment and engagement in the rural workforce.
  • Despite regional disparities, the concerted efforts to elevate female participation are evident, aligning with broader national trends in increasing female Labour Force Participation Rates and declining unemployment rates among women.


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