This case explores how the legal status of the Maharashtra Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) (see summary #12 \"The Politics and Bureaucratics of Rural Public Works: Maharashtra's Employment Guarantee Scheme\" for more details), and the legal rights to employment which it embodies, impact on the capacity of political and social activists to advance the social and economic interests of actual and potential EGS workers. The paper examines the experience of one activist organization the Bandhkam ba Lakudkam Sangathana, which initiated several court cases against the state in the mid-1980s for the enforcement of legal provisions. The key argument is that although having rights enshrined in law offers incentives for the poor to mobilise, legal action in itself cannot ensure access to those rights. The political context is important and activists must be able to effectively balance legal and political efforts in their pursuit of social change.
This paper is a summary of a chapter in Mick Moore, Sujata Patel and Anuradha Joshi (eds) Employment Guarantee.
Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies, 2 pp.