Tuesday, 06 May 2014 08:28


It has been five years since the launch of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) launch from Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh on February 2, 2006. The act has been instrumental in raising the productivity, increasing the purchasing power, reducing distress migration, creating durable assets while ensuring livelihood opportunities for the needy and poor in rural India.

The act is aimed at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing 100 days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. These works include water conservation, drought proofing, irrigation, land development, rejuvenation of traditional water bodies, flood control and drainage work, rural connectivity and work on the land of SC/ST/BPL/IAY beneficiaries/land reform beneficiaries/ individual small and marginal farmers.

Provisions under MGNREGA

• Adult members of a rural household, willing to do unskilled manual work, are required to make registration in writing or orally to the local Gram Panchayat

• The Gram Panchayat after due verification will issue a Job Card. The Job Card will bear the photograph of all adult members of the household willing to work under NREGA and is free of cost.

• The Job Card should be issued within 15 days of application.

• A Job Card holder may submit a written application for employment to the Gram Panchayat, stating the time and duration for which work is sought. The minimum days of employment have to be at least fourteen.

• The Gram Panchayat will issue a dated receipt of the written application for employment, against which the guarantee of providing employment within 15 days operates

• Employment will be given within 15 days of application for work, if it is not then daily unemployment allowance as per the Act, has to be paid liability of payment of unemployment allowance is of the States.

• Work should ordinarily be provided within 5 km radius of the village. In case work is provided beyond 5 km, extra wages of 10% are payable to meet additional transportation and living expenses

• Wages are to be paid according to the Minimum Wages Act 1948 for agricultural labourers in the State, unless the Centre notices a wage rate which will not be less than  60 (US$1.10) per day. Equal wages will be provided to both men and women.

• Wages are to be paid according to piece rate or daily rate. Disbursement of wages has to be done on weekly basis and not beyond a fortnight in any case.

• At least one-third beneficiaries shall be women who have registered and requested work under the scheme.

• Work site facilities such as crèche, drinking water, shade have to be provided

• The shelf of project for a village will be recommended by the gram sabha and approved by the zilla panchayat.

• At least 50% of works will be allotted to Gram Panchayats for execution

• Permissible works predominantly include water and soil conservation, afforestation and land development works

• A 60:40 wage and material ratio has to be maintained. No contractors and machinery is allowed

• The Central Govt. bears the 100 percent wage cost of unskilled manual labour and 75 percent of the material cost including the wages of skilled and semi skilled workers

• Social Audit has to be done by the Gram Sabha

• Grievance redressal mechanisms have to be put in place for ensuring a responsive implementation process

The MGNREGA achieves twin objectives of rural development and employment. The MGNREGA stipulates that works must be targeted towards a set of specific rural development activities such as: water conservation and harvesting, afforestation, rural connectivity, flood control and protection such as construction and repair of embankments, etc. Digging of new tanks/ponds, percolation tanks and construction of small check dams are also given importance. The employers are given work such as land leveling, tree plantation, etc.

Recent initiatives under the MGNREGA:

a) The basket of permissible activities has been expanded to make it more meaningful.

b) Electronic fund management system (eFMS) in all states has been initiated in a phased manner to reduce delay in payment of wages.

c) Additional employment over and above 100 days per household in notified drought-affected talukas/ blocks is now permissible.

d) Provision has been made for seeding in Aadhaar into the MGNREGA Workers records to prevent leakage.

e) Convergence of the MGNREGA with the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) has been undertaken.