<b>Role of Panchayats in planning and implementation of Right to Work A study of MGNREGA in District Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir</b> The Act known as National Rural Employment Guarantee Act NREGA created a justifiable “Right to work” for all households in rural India. This Act renamed as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme MGNREGS is an unprecedented intervention by the Government in reforming and reenergizing the rural labour market both by way of correcting the prevailing anomalies and in providing livelihood security to millions of rural poor. In conflict ridden Kashmir’s rural areas that are caught in widespread poverty, vulnerability and lack of basic infrastructure, the launching of the NREGA brought a lot of hope and optimism. As in Kashmir society most of the rural poor are largely dependent on the prospects of agriculture sector which is facing the problems of productivity in absolute and relative terms in contemporary times because of climatic and other environmental and socio cultural concerns. Thus the promised 100 days of guaranteed wage employment per household per annum at the stipulated minimum wages has not only reduced the rampant under and unemployment in Kashmir’s rural areas, but also impacted the stagnant wage structure for the rural unskilled workers. MGNREGA is also a glaring example which has ensured community participation in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation Social Audit . It also aims at enabling the local bodies to move towards good governance through the transparency, accountability and participatory mechanisms. Even the efficacy of the institutional performance and active participation of the community determine the overall effectiveness of NREGS. However, after more than half a decade of policy implementation the only major available information source about the state – the “Government official figures” – do not show a healthy picture when compared to other parts of India and generate a lot of questions and ambiguity, addressing the dearth of ground level literature, which could have explained the myths and realities behind the fluctuating and comparatively low performing official estimates. This paper is a modest attempt in this direction to highlight the feasibility and contextual dilemmas of the MGNREGA in Kashmir with an empirical study of one of the most backward Districts of the Valley i.e. District Budgam. It also analyses the official figures and their limitations and provides field reflections on some of the limitations in the proper implementation of the scheme. In addition to this it highlights the issues and challenges in the smooth functioning of the Panchayat Raj Institutions in the proper implementation of the scheme. The study has been carried out with a proper scientific methodology, and to elicit the relevant information the researchers have employed non participant observation and interviews with the stakeholders as key research methods. In summation from this study policy conclusions can be drawn based on a general analysis of the set up, past experience and the findings from the field study MGNREGA, panchayat, Right to Work. 720-726 Issue-1 Volume-2 Dr. Gazala Firdoss