** Important : Because it completed 10 years in 2016 **

    • Right based
    • Demand driven scheme.
    • Promises 100 days of employment every year to each rural household.
    • The Act stipulates that wage payment be made within 15 days of work completion.
    • Stipulates for one third participation of women
    • In terms of the average person-days of work provided to each household the country = more than 40 days
    • The Act stipulates that wage payment be made within 15 days of work completion, but huge delays have been a key concern across the country. The proportion of payments made within 15 days nearly 50 %
    • MGNREGA stipulates for one third participation of women however Participation of women is nearly 55%.
Cabinet gave approval to additional 50 days of work under MGNREGA to rural poor in drought or natural calamities affected areas.
MGNREGA as an example of MIS benefits:
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is not only a pioneering livelihood security programme but also a great example of proactive disclosure of information through its Management Information System (MIS).
  • It is the first transaction-based real-time system for any public works programme in the country that is available in the public domain.
  • There has been a digitisation of all the processes in MGNREGA — right from a worker registering demand for work, to work allotment, to finally getting wages for completed works.
  • Another notable feature of the MIS is the availability of information through online reports at various levels of disaggregation. This has enabled any citizen to monitor the implementation of the programme and has consequently charted a new paradigm of transparency since the enactment of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
  • Individual worker details from around 2.5 lakh gram panchayats are available in the MGNREGA MIS.
NOTE: You can mention MGNREGA as an example in questions related to MIS, Role of IT, Good Governance etc.
A recent study has found that the work being offered under the MGNREGS scheme is falling with each passing years. Critically analyse the reasons for this decline in demand for jobs under this scheme. (200 Words)
Launched in 2006, the MGNREGA creates a justiciable “right to work”. It promises 100 days of wage employment in public works per year to all rural households whose adult members are willing to do unskilled manual work.
However, it has been reported that of late the demand for work under MGNREGA has been dwindling. Following are reasons for the same:
    1. Insufficient budgetary allocation and delay in release of funds from the Centre hampers the generation of enough work thus artificially squeezing demand.
    2. There is delay on part of the Centre to transfer funds to the states for payment of wages. This delay in payment of wages discourages people from taking up more work.
    3. Under the provision of the law on MGNREGA, if the government does not provide jobs within the stipulated 15 days, it has to pay unemployment allowance. Given that states face a cash crunch, they resort to nonregistration of work demand to avoid paying the unemployment allowances.
    4. Wages paid under MGNREGA is less than the private market wages in almost all states. Administrative expenses have also gone up from 5 % to 9 %, leaving little for wage payments.
    5. The government has selected 2549 blocks on the basis of them being most poor and backward and looks for more allocation to them which provides for doubling the allocation, while the rest of 4000 odd blocks have same support, this will cause huge differences in wage money procurements
    6. Though MGNREGS is supposed to be demand-driven, in reality the scheme is driven by officials at the top.
There is ample evidence that shows that MGNREA has had a positive impact on rural poverty. In this light, the government needs to address the above mentioned issues to arrest the decline in demand for work, both genuine and artificial. Enhancing administrative capacities and generating awareness must be the twin objections of the proposed solution.
The proposal to amend the MNREGA has drawn criticism from many quarters owing to shift in its nature from a demand driven scheme to one controlled by central government. Critically analyse the proposed amendments and their impact on the Indian society? (200 Words)
Despite few shortcomings MGNREGA has really worked on ground to attain its stated objectives. But recent amendments proposed by government were:
    1. Restrict coverage to only few backward districts.
    2. Reduce the wage-material ratio from 60:40 to 51:49
They found more critics than admirer of this move.
    1. This will certainly enhance focus on backward districts and may reduce budgetary allocation due to reduced coverage easing government‘s fiscal woes.
    2. Recent study confirms that there are many “polarised districts” with both developed and under developed blocks. Such a move will exclude a significant portion of rural poor.
    3. Decrease in share of wage in total allocation will reduce the minimum wage and will resume the process of distressed migration- failing an important objective of this act.
    4. This was also aimed at economic empowerment of women, ST, SC by mandating their participation. Such a selected approach will hurt these people the most.
    5. Besides, this was a right based scheme. Implementing a right based scheme in selected districts is equivalent to implementing RTI in selected pockets- totally defeating the concept of right‘
    6. Such a move will be devastating for millions of rural households in a country where about 60% of area is drought prone.
Considering its devastating impact on society especially rural households, government must think of other alternatives to increase its focus on backwards districts, without diluting the rights in non-backward areas.
“The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme–despite its failings and dismissals by prominent economists as a ‘dole’ is in consonance with the idea of sustainable development whose important cardinal components are economic, social and environmental sustainability.” Critically examine. (200 Words)
MGNREGA is an employment guarantee scheme implemented in the rural areas. This scheme is in consonance with sustainable development which incorporates economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Economic sustainability:
    1. Provided 100 days of wage employment especially targeting the poorest of the poor. This has helped in achieving a minimum economic security.
    2. It has had a multiplier effect in the rural economic in accordance with the Keynesian theory of macroeconomics.
    3. Promoted financial inclusion among rural poor.
    4. It has resulted in food security.
Social sustainability:
    1. Has successfully helped in improving the socio-economic position of women.
    2. Helped in reducing distress migration.
    3. Better networking among rural people resulting in the formation of SHGs.
    4. Improvement in health status.
    5. Reduction in school dropout rate.
Environment sustainability:
    1. Projects like drought proofing, water conservation projects, de-siltation of lakes, plantation, and flood control helps in achieving environment sustainability.
However, there are certain pitfalls and problems with this scheme:
    1. Rampant corruption especially at the grass-root level that is the gram sabha
    2. Delayed payments to the workers.
    3. Poor implementation of this scheme especially in the states of UP and Bihar
    4. Undeserving people getting job cards instead of the target group.
    5. It has tended to create sub-standard infrastructure which does not last long.
The government should work to overcome the shortcomings so as to realize its true potential and meet its true objectives of ensuring sustainable development.



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