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Group wants new order on MGNREGA workers revoked

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections, issues related to development and management of the social sector.



The Union Rural Development Ministry must withdraw its order to discontinue manual attendance for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) worksites with more than 20 workers and use a mobile phone-based application, National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS), for recording attendance, the People’s Action For Employment Guarantee (PAEG), a group of academics and activists working in the field.


Key issues:

  • Violation of NREGA: The Ministry’s order of manual attendance is in violation of the NREGA law and also flagged a series of technical and sociological issues with the app.
    • Section 15 – Schedule 1 lays down rules about the muster rolls — clearly says that the muster roll must be accessible to the workers on demand all day during all working hours. If The muster roll is available only digitally, access will be limited.
  • Discourages mates: The app discourages women from being mates which fundamentally undermines the Ministry’s own repeated push towards encouraging women workers as NREGA mates.
    • The job of a mate is to see the work of the workers working in his workplace. To make daily attendance of labourers, to see who came and who did not.
  • Lack of access to digital devices: Having a smartphone is now mandatory for mates to record attendance on the NMMS. However, many women from poorer households don’t have access to smartphones.
  • Language issues: The app has been designed completely in English And there is no technical help provided to redress problems.
<strong>National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) </strong>
  • The NMMS App permits taking real-time attendance of workers at Mahatma Gandhi NREGS worksites along with geotagged photographs, which will increase citizen oversight of the programme besides potentially enabling processing payments faster.
  • Area Officer Monitoring App facilitates them to record their findings online along with time-stamped and go-coordinate tagged photographs for all the schemes of Deptt of Rural Development- Mahatma Gandhi NREGS, PMAYG, PMGSY.
  • This would also enable not only better record keeping of inspections by field and supervisory officials but also facilitate analysis of the findings for better programme implementation.


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To read about MGNREGS: click here

Practice Questions:

Q. “MGNREGA created rural infrastructure and assets, along with increasing rural demand and employment”. How far has the scheme been successful in its objective? Critically analyze.


Q. With reference to MGNREGS, consider the following statements:

  1. The application must be made with the local Gram Panchayat only.
  2. Within 30 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the applicant.

Which of the statements given above is/are not correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Source: The Hindu