Principal Investigator: James Gilmore Manor. Lead Organsiation: University of London
Poor people's lack of access to information about processes which might assist or injure them is an important facet of their poverty in less developed countries. It exposes them to exploitation and limits their awareness, capabilities, opportuntities and liberties. This research project examines what is probably the most systematic effort in the developing world to provide poor people with information that is vitally important to them. India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Act gives every rural household the right to demand and receive 100 days of employment per year on public works projects - a safety net against destitution. Such programmes are famously vulnerable to corruption. So to counter it, the Act contains formidable transparency mechanisms to ensure that resources actually reach the poor. If these mechanisms work successfully, they could become a model for other such programmes elsewhere. This study will assess the workings of this programme in two mainstream Indian states, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It entails analyses of the rich data-sets amassed by the programmes, plus interviews with informants in village and higher levels, as well as survey research in the villages.