Kochi: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme had helped women improve their social and economic status, according to a study by a university here.
The study by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) showed that 97.3 per cent of workers under the scheme are women.
Conducted as part of a project on Impact Assessment Study of MGNREG scheme in Alappuzha District, the study was funded by Kerala State Institute of Rural Development.
The project was implemented with a view to understand the impact of the scheme on poverty eradication and empowerment of women and marginalised groups.
It also found that there was a decrease in tension among women.
About 60 per cent of the workers felt relieved by getting their daily food by the scheme while it is a source of additional income for life empowerment for the 40 per cent of workers.
Twenty seven per cent of respondents believed the scheme has helped boost their saving habits and has brought a kind of financial literacy among them, which is necessary for financial inclusion.
In Alappuzha District, the scheme has helped bring down the intensity of communicable diseases through various kinds of cleaning activities in surroundings and water bodies, which is a part of the scheme.
It has also resulted in increase in wages, especially in fisheries, construction, coir and agricultural sectors, it said.
The study recommended disbursing wages within seven days for workers and including agriculture related works like paddy harvesting and works in fish farms in the scheme.
Dr V Ambilikumar, Head, Department of Business Administration and Management, KUFOS and principal investigator of the project, said the scheme has created a revolution in women's empowerment and would definitely reflect in the structure of society.
"Unlike other states, Kerala has higher population density, very limited land holdings and shortage of agricultural land and public facilities. Hence activities included in list of the permissible works under the scheme should be reviewed and implement in accordance with the situations", he said.
Speaking at a function in connection with release of the report yesterday, Vice Chancellor Dr B Madhusoodana Kurup said it showed how the MGNREG scheme influenced rural people in the country. More sectors like agriculture and fisheries should also be included under the scheme, he said.