Learner’s Submission: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in India

30/10/2013

“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.

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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.

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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.

 

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(Major Recommendations of the CAG Audit on MGNREGS)

Conclusion:

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

 

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Learner’s Submission: Case Study on Decentralization in Karnataka (India)

22/07/2013

“It was introduced by Janta Dal which won the 1983 elections and gained the control of the State government. The elected councils were created at two levels, viz. the District and the Mandal. The Mandal Council covered a group of adjacent villages with a population of between 8 and 12 thousand and consisted of around 30 members directly elected. In all, 2536 Mandals were established. The size of the Mandals was very small in relation to the much larger and far more powerful District Councils. There were in all 19 District Councils consisting of members between 23 and 64 all directly elected by territorial constituencies with an average population of 28,000. The District Councilors elected a President and a Vice-President, the former with a status of a junior minister and the latter that of a deputy minister in the state government. They controlled a sizable staff of senior administration headed by a Chief Secretary belonging to the IAS, all deputies by the State government. The District Councils were responsible for every field of development. The substantial funds related to theses programmes of development were transferred to the district councils.

In April 1982, the Union Government deposed the State government and imposed direct rule from New Delhi. The December 1989 elections brought Congress party to power. The Congress

Government was hostile to the scheme of decentralization introduced by the Janta Dal Government. It lost no time in undermining the powers of councils and imposing cuts on the funds released to the District Councils. This was a sad end to a radical programme of democratic decentralization in Karnataka which had achieved considerable success.” – Vivek Kumar Singh – Bihar, India


Learner’s Submission: HRM in India

28/12/2012

“We are set to usher in a century of tremendous development in Political, Economic, Social and Cultural space. Like societies of West, India has been experiencing repeated conflicts between incumbent interests and emergent interests. The Universal Vision shared by all Indians is that of United Country which would resolve differences among communities/castes/Classes, Undertake Integration on the vision of Single coherent Nation, Pursue Excellence in Science and technology, Achieve maximum rate of growth in Economy and Concretize the Political conventions and Institutions into an irreversible process and means that is easily accessible to all Indian Citizens. The above vision of citizens of India is encouraged by the values and sacrifices of Leaders of our Freedom Struggle. It is upheld by aspirations of each individual citizen, Groups and Civil Society. We have met many politicians, who continue to adhere to some of the principles and continue to seek guidance through the utterances of the 20th Century leaders of Indian Freedom Struggle.

The responsibility to run the Nation and moderate and guide the ‘Change’ has been vested in the hands of Indian Administration by the Present Indian Constitution. Through Policies, Programme and Plans, Administration secures the security of the geography of India, mediates consensus generation, resolving Conflicts, ensures participation of stakeholders, Safeguards rights promotes duties of Individual citizens/Groups of Citizens. The above actions are done through legitimacy and sanctity of faith and prestige engrained in the Long History of Indian Freedom Struggle and inherited into Present Indian Constitution of 1950. Indian Administration has a clear laid out path and process to adhere while carrying out their roles and responsibility in positions of ‘Authority’.

A robust and dynamic ‘Human Resource Management (HRM)’ is required in Public Service. HRM in India that is formulated, Updated through co-ordination and co-operation of series of Institutions and statutory Bodies. HRM Policy, at present, is more reactionary than far sighted. The Recruited go through a static and traditional instruction-based training process, which none of the recruits take seriously. Such an irresponsible process has eaten into confidence of the new recruits. The vile among the recruits have started promoting sectional interests and would choose to uphold medieval identities of caste/religion and gender rather than mould resilient National Vision. The Vision of ‘Unity in Diversity’ is sacrificed upon alter of skepticism and ideology.

The Indian Administrator has to be more than just a reeve. The Indian administrator is faced with the personal task of subjugating his sectarian inclinations and feelings, gather foothold on things much before leaders of the various communities. She is expected to act with prudence, wit and predictability. She has to remain an enigma while implementing the programme and plans. Top leadership have to unlearn the old ways of discretion and discreet. Top leadership should learn newer engagement processes and methods. They should re-learn how to engage the Public, A public that is more educated and alert, in a way participation of all sections and groups are involved up to the last individual. The structure of Institutions and departments has to be changed through a comprehensive overhaul. Decision-making processes should be recast to be worked through decentralized structures ensuring participation of stakeholders and continuous monitoring and evaluation should be made possible at all levels of Government, Public Service Channels and processes. Governments at all levels should take control of groups and forces that are working against the national development vision and annihilate them. Sanitation of polity is required for the development strategy to be re-focused on the most pertinent development visions and wasteful expenditure be forcefully curtailed. There is no need to provide large pay packets for politicians, Politicians, at least in Indian context, is based on personal dedication to narrower caste/classes/community/religious causes. That being case, to give these leaders large pay packets will only deprive of bargaining leverage for public in general, who do not belong to the community/caste/religion/classes the politician does belong. A wide participation of the poorest of poor and opportunity to represent their causes through democratic institutions’ should be provided at no cost but with absolute confidence. Democracy is about participation and participation is only first step…And in Interest of Majority in our Country, Democracy is the only course left…” – Anil Dev Gopalakrishna – Karnataka, India


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