Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview, implementation and bodies established under the act.
For Mains: Significance of the law, performance analysis and ways to improve.
Context: Government of India has disbursed RS 170 crores to MGNREGA workers. The amounts were disbursed to the beneficiaries through the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
The scheme was introduced as a social measure that guarantees “the right to work”.
The key tenet of this social measure and labour law is that the local government will have to legally provide at least 100 days of wage employment in rural India to enhance their quality of life.
- Generation of paid rural employment of not less than 100 days for each worker who volunteers for unskilled labour.
- Proactively ensuring social inclusion by strengthening livelihood base of rural poor.
- Creation of durable assets in rural areas such as wells, ponds, roads and canals.
- Reduce urban migration from rural areas.
- Create rural infrastructure by using untapped rural labour.
The following are the eligibility criteria for receiving the benefits under MGNREGA scheme:
- Must be Citizen of India to seek MGNREGA benefits.
- Job seeker has completed 18 years of age at the time of application.
- The applicant must be part of a local household (i.e. application must be made with local Gram Panchayat).
- Applicant must volunteer for unskilled labour.
Key facts related to the scheme:
- The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Govt of India is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments.
- Individual beneficiary-oriented works can be taken up on the cards of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, small or marginal farmers or beneficiaries of land reforms or beneficiaries under the Indira Awaas Yojana of the Government of India.
- Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the applicant.
- Right to get unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought.
- Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory, which lends to accountability and transparency.
- The Gram Sabha is the principal forum for wage seekers to raise their voices and make demands.
- It is the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat which approves the shelf of works under MGNREGA and fix their priority.
Role of Gram Sabha:
- It determines the order of priority of works in the meetings of the Gram Sabha keeping in view potential of the local area, its needs and local resources.
- Monitor the execution of works within the GP.
Roles of Gram Panchayat:
- Receiving applications for registration
- Verifying registration applications
- Registering households
- Issuing Job Cards (JCs)
- Receiving applications for work
- Issuing dated receipts for these applications for work
- Allotting work within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought in the case of an advance application.
- Identification and planning of works, developing shelf of projects including determination of the order of their priority.
Responsibilities of State Government in MGNREGA:
- Frame Rules on matters pertaining to State responsibilities under Section 32 of the Act ii) Develop and notify the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for the State.
- Set up the SEGC.
- Set up a State level MGNREGS implementation agency/ mission with adequate number of high calibre professionals.
- Set up a State level MGNREGS social audit agency/directorate with adequate number of people with knowledge on MGNREGA processes and demonstrated commitment to social audit.
- Establish and operate a State Employment Guarantee Fund (SEGF).
- Under MGNREGA, what are the roles of Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat, States, State Food Commission, Centre?
- What are jobs cards, who issues them?
- Who sets up SEGF?
- What is Wage employement?
- Who conducts social audit?
Discuss the key features and significance of MGNREGA.