GS Paper 3:
Topics Covered: Employment Related issues.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development and Panchayati Raj has submitted its report on the functioning of the MGNREGA to the Lok Sabha.
- There has always been a hike in the revised estimate over the budget estimate in the past.
- Delay in the release of funds.
- Wide disparity in the wage rate between one state to another.
- Fake job cards, widespread corruption and late uploading of muster rolls.
- Increasing the number of guaranteed working days from 100 to at least 150.
- Increase the permissible work taking into account the local geographical terrain and local requirements.
- The government should relook at its calculation and suitably approach the ministry of finance for higher allocation of funds in order to speed up the pace of rural development schemes for dearth of budget.
Need for reforms:
As per the latest economic survey:
- Demand for work under MGNREGA scheme has dropped from the peak of the first lockdown, but is still higher than pre-COVID levels.
- The highest demand for work under the scheme was seen in States which are usually the destination of migrant workers, rather than source States.
The scheme was introduced in 2005 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 the 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).
- Applicants must volunteer for unskilled labour.
Implementation of the scheme:
- 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.
Did you know that the Indian Constitution does not explicitly recognise the ‘right to work’ as a fundamental right? Then, how is it treated under the Constitution? Reference: read this.
- Under MGNREGA, what are the roles of Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat, States, State Food Commission, Centre?
- What are job cards, who issues them?
- Who sets up the State Employment Guarantee Fund?
- What is Wage employment?
- Who conducts social audits?
Discuss the key features and significance of MGNREGA.
Sources: the Hindu.