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Spectators and Participants?

Yamini Aiyar , Soumya Kapoor Mehta

How does a hierarchical, top-down state respond to efforts to become directly accountable to its citizens?

This paper analyses this question through India’s experience with implementing social audits for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the state of Andhra Pradesh (AP), India. Passed by the Indian Parliament in 2005, the MGNREGA legally enshrines the right to work by guaranteeing the provision of 100 days of unskilled wage employment to all rural households in India. In its design, the Act incorporates a number of transparency and accountability features, crucial amongst which is Section 17 of the Act mandating the regular conduct of social audits of works sanctioned under MGNREGA.

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