“In this article, I will discuss on the topic of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act – one of the most ambitious social welfare measures of Government of India for poverty alleviation and rural development.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, popularly known as MGNREGA, is an Act to provide for the enhancement of the livelihood security of the households in rural areas of the country by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment (through unskilled manual work) in every financial year to every household. The very purpose of the scheme is two-fold, first to provide job on demand to ensure livelihood security and second, at the same time, to create assets to augment the basic infrastructures available to the rural people. The MGNREG Act was notified on September 07, 2005.
The employment under MGNREGA Scheme (MGNREGS) is an obligation on the part of the Government to provide employment within 5km radius of the village at the minimum wage (for example, INR 174/- per day in the State of Karnataka), failing which an unemployment allowance is to be provided within 15 days. Along with community participation, the MGNREGS scheme is being implemented primarily by the gram panchayats. Under the Scheme, mostly the labour intensive works like creating infrastructures for water harvesting, drought relief and flood control are undertaken.
Coverage by MGNREGA Scheme:
Starting from 200 districts in Feb 2006, the MGNREGS Scheme now covers all districts of India from April 01, 2008. AS of now, the implementation status of the project (as mentioned in the official web site of MGNREGA www.nrega.nic.in) is as follows:
Number of States covered – 32
Number of Districts covered – 596
Number of Blocks covered – 6388
Number of Panchayats covered – 240233
Number of Job Cards issued- 112.90 Million
Number of Persons registered – 248.80 Million
Workflow of MGNREGS Scheme
The MGNREGS Scheme is implemented in India through a web-based Management Information System (MIS) – “NREGASoft” to address the planning and monitoring needs of the Scheme. This is a local language enabled workflow based e-Governance System and is available in offline as well as online mode to capture all the activities under MGNREGA at the Centre/State/District/Block and Panchayat level.
Payment of Wage through Direct Benefit Transfer
The payment of wages is made by the Government directly to the worker’s account by electronic means, called Direct Benefit Transfer System (DBTS). This DBTS system leverages the payment gateways such as Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB), National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT), Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), National Electronic Clearing Service (NECS) and Banks’ Core Banking Solutions. This DBTS facilitates the direct credit of the wage to the Bank/Post Accounts of the beneficiaries through automated processes.
As per newspaper reports (The Hindu, 15 May, 2013), Govt. of India has allocated to the State of Karnataka Rs. 2,1330 million for the implementation of the MGNREGS scheme in 2013-14. According to the Karnataka State government’s notification on April 9, 2013, the month-wise expenditure (for Karnataka) under the job scheme would be as follows:
|Month||Expenditure in Million Rupees||Month||Expenditure in Million Rupees|
|April 2013||133.8||Oct 2013||1601.6|
|May 2013||287.6||Nov 2013||2286.8|
|June 2013||381.9||Dec 2013||2494.2|
|Jul 2013||472.1||Jan 2014||2759.2|
|Aug 2013||713.8||Feb 2014||4058.6|
|Sep 2013||1361.7||Mar 2014||4778.3|
Assessment of MGNREGA
The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India on the second performance audit of the MGNREGS that covered 3848 gram panchayats in 28 states and 4 union territories of India from April 2007 to March 2012 highlighted the 3 most significant factors – lack of public awareness, mismanagement and institutional incapacity. Accordingly, the 3 major recommendations were Capacity Building, Public Awareness and Effective Management.
(Major Recommendations of the CAG Audit on MGNREGS)
To address the lack of public awareness, mismanagement and institutional incapacity, the CAG has suggested a number of recommendations to the Ministry of Rural Development and Government of India. To increase the public awareness, it recommends intensifying the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Activities. The CAG also recommends proper management of records at the gram panchayat level. For capacity building, the CAG recommends to fill the large number of vacancies through mass recruitment. Like any other government welfare schemes, MGNREGS is also difficult to implement due to governance challenges like elite capture, leakage and corruption. The efforts of the Government of India in implementing the MGNREGS Schemes successfully are highly appreciated.” – Srihari Subudhi – New Delhi, India