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Features of MNREGA
Adult associates of a non-urban family may implement for career if they are willing to do
inexperienced guide perform.
Such a family will have to implement for signing up to the regional Gram Panchayat, in composing,
or by mouth.
The Gram Panchayat after due confirmation will problem a Job Cards to the family as a whole. The
Job Cards will keep the picture of all mature associates of the family willing to perform under
NREGA the Job Cards with picture is totally without any cost A Job Cards having family may publish an
itemized program for career to the gram:
Local gram Panchayat organization, revealing enough some time to length for which performs is
desired. The lowest times of career have to be 15.
The local Gram Panchayat will problem a old invoice of the published program for career, against
which the assurance of offering career within 15 times operates
Employment will be given within 15 times of program for perform by a career hunter.
If career is not offered within 15 times, everyday lack of employment allocation, in money has to be
salaried. Accountability of all transaction of need of employment allocation is of the Declares.
At least one-third of individuals to whom perform is allocated perform have to be females.
Wages are to be compensated according to lowest income as recommended under the Minimum
Wages Act 1948 for farming laborers in the Condition, unless the Center informs a salary amount which will
not be less than only Rs. 60/ per day
Disbursement of income has to be done on every week base and not beyond a couple weeks.
Local Panchayat Raj Organizations, also known as PRIs have a major part in preparing and
execution.
Each region has to get ready a display of tasks. The chosen performs to offer career are to be chosen from
the record of allowable performs The different groups of allowable performs are as follows:
Main Water Conservation
Drought Prevention (including Farmville farm and forestations)
Horrible Flood Protection
Land Development
Minor Watering, farming and area growth on
The area of SC/ST/ -BPL/IAY and
land change beneficiaries
Rural connectivity Work should normally be offered within 5 km distance of the town or else additional
income of 10% is due.
Work website features such as crche, water, shelter have to be provided
Social Review has to be done by the local Gram Sabha.
Grievance redresser systems have to be put in position for guaranteeing a sensitive execution
procedure.
All records and information about the Program are to be created available to any individual
wanting to of acquiring a duplicate of such information, on need and after spending a specified fee.
Funding
The central govt of India has recognized a finance known as the Nationwide Career Assurance Fund, from
which allows are launched straight to Zones. Turning resources are to be set up under REGS at the Region,
Prevent and local Gram Panchayat levels, with individual records being started out for such resources at
each level. Each Non-urban Career Assurance Program is required to have the lowest features specified in
Routine 1 and Routine 2 of the Act. Area 4 of the Act also provides that until such as the Condition
Government, the Yearly or Viewpoint Strategy of the famous Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana informs
Program. (SGRY) or Nationwide Food for Perform Program (NFFWP), whatever is in power is that area

shall be considered the strategy for the Program for the requirements of the Act. These recommendations
have been developed to assist in the design and execution of Non-urban Career Assurance Techniques. They
should be considered as a wide functional structure, around which further conditions may be designed,
considering the States financial, social and institutional perspective.
The Main Government holds the expenses on the following items:

The entire price of income of inexperienced guide workers

75% of the price of content, income of experienced and partial experienced workers

Administrative expenses as may be identified by the Main Government, which will consist of inter
alias, the wage and the considerations of the Program Official and his assisting team, place of work facilities

Expenses of the Nationwide Career Assurance Council The Condition Government holds the
expenses on the following items: 25% of the price of content, income of experienced and partial experienced
workers

Unemployment allocation due in case the Condition Government cannot provide wage occupation on
time.

Administrative expenses of the Condition Career Assurance Authorities.


Popular scheme of MGNREGA started with a preliminary expenditure of $2.5bn (Rs 11300cr) in
year 200607. The financing has significantly been improved as proven in the desk below:

MGNREGA work sites


Each MGNREGA work site should be overseen by a work site mate. All MGNREGA work sites should
have:

A first aid box


A shady place to rest
Drinking water
A sign board detailing the work, cost and number of days
An attendance register (or muster roll)
A crche (this is only required if there are at least five female workers on site who have children of
below 6 years of age)

The Gandhian Approach to Rural Development!


In the Indian context rural development may be defined as maximising production in agriculture and allied
activities in the rural areas including development of rural industries with emphasis on village and cottage
industries.
It attaches importance to the generation of maximum possible employment opportunities in rural areas,
especially for the weaker sections of the community so as to enable them to improve their standard of living.

Provision of certain basic amenities like drinking water, electricity, especially for the productive purpose,
link roads connecting villages to market centres and facilities for health and education etc. figure
prominently in the scheme of rural development.
Theoretically, Gandhian approach to rural development may be labelled as idealist. It attaches supreme
importance to moral values and gives primacy to moral values over material conditions. The Gandhians
believe that the source of moral values in general lies in religion and Hindu scriptures like the Upanishads
and the Gita, in particular.
The concept of Rama Rajya is the basis of Gandhijis idea of an ideal social order. Gandhi defined Rama
Rajya as sovereignty of the people based on moral authority. He did not view Rama as a king, and people
as his subjects. In the Gandhian scheme, Rama stood for God or ones own inner voice Gandhi believed
in a democratic social order in which people are supreme. Their supremacy is, however, not absolute. It is
subject to moral values.
Ideal Village:
The village is the basic unit of the Gandhian ideal social order. Gandhi succinctly pointed out, If the village
perishes India will perish too. We have to make a choice between India of the villages that is as ancient as
herself and India of the cities which are a creation of foreign domination. Gandhis ideal village belongs to
the Pre-British period, when Indian villages were supposed to constitute the federation of self-governing
autonomous republics.
According to Gandhiji, this federation will be brought about not by coercion or compulsion but by the
voluntary offer of every village republic to join such a federation. The work of the central authority will only
be to coordinate the work of different village republics and to supervise and manage things of common
interest, as education, basic industries, health, currency, banking etc.
The central authority will have no power to enforce its decisions on village republics except the moral
pressure or power of persuasion. The economic system and transport system introduced by the British have
destroyed the republican character of the villages.
Gandhi, however, admitted that in olden times tyranny and oppression were in fact practised by feudal
chiefs. But, odds were even. Today the odds are heavy. It is most demoralising. In this way in the
Gandhian scheme of things the ancient republic, an Indian village without tyranny and exploitation serves
as a model unit.
Decentralisation:
Gandhi firmly believes that village republics can be built only through decentralisation of social and
political power. In such a system decision-making power will be vested in the Village Panchayat rather than

in the State and the national capital. The representatives would be elected by all adults for a fixed period of
five years. The elected representatives would constitute a council, called the Panchayat.
The Panchayat exercises legislative, executive and judicial functions. It would look after education, health
and sanitation of the village. It would be the Panchayats responsibility to protect and uplift untouchables
and other poor people. Resources for Gandhian Approach to managing village affairs would be raised from
the villages.
All the conflicts and disputes would be resolved within the village. And as far as possible not a single case is
to be referred to courts outside the village. The Panchayat would play its role in propagating the importance
of moral and spiritual values among the ruralites for bringing about rural reconstruction.
Apart from managing its own affairs the village would also be capable of defending itself against any
invasion. A non-violent peace brigade of volunteers would be organised to defend the village. This corps
would be different from the usual military formation. They would repose the utmost faith in non-violence
and God.
Self-sufficiency:
Such a decentralised polity implies a decentralised economy. It can be attained only through self-sufficiency
at the village level. The village should be self-sufficient as far as its basic needs food, clothing, and other
necessities are concerned. The village has to import certain things which it cannot produce in the village.
We shall have to produce more of what we can, in order thereby to obtain in exchange, what we are unable
to produce.
The village should produce food-crops and cotton in order to meet its requirements. Some lands should also
be earmarked for cattle and for a playground for adults and children. If some land is still available, it should
be used for growing useful cash crops like tobacco, opium, etc. to enable the village to get in exchange
things which it does not produce.
Village economy should be planned with a view to providing full employment to all the adults of the village.
Each man should be guaranteed employment to enable him to meet his basic needs in the village itself so
that he is not forced to migrate to towns. In the ultimate analysis full employment should be linked with
equality.
Physical labour occupies a central place in the Gandhian concept of the self-sufficient village. In this respect
he was highly influenced by Rus-kin and Tolstoy. According to Gandhi, each man must do physical labour to
earn his bread. Physical labour is necessary for moral discipline and for the sound development of the mind.
Intellectual labour is only for ones own satisfaction and one should not demand payment for it.
The needs of the body must be supplied by the body. Gandhi said, If all laboured for their bread then there
would be enough food and enough leisure for all. Shriman Narayan rightly observes, Gandhiji recognised

toil to be not a curse but the joyful business of life as it has the power to make man healthier, merrier, fitter
and kindlier.
Industrialization:
Gandhiji maintained that industrialization would help only a few and will lead to concentration of economic
power. Industrialization leads to passive or active exploitation of the villages. It encourages competition.
Large scale production requires marketing. Marketing means profit-seeking through an exploitative
mechanism.
Moreover, industrialization replaces manpower and hence it adds to unemployment. In a country like India,
where millions of labourers in the villages do not get work for even six months in a year, industrialization
will not only increase unemployment but force labourers to migrate to urban areas. This will ruin villages.
In order to avoid such a catastrophe, village and cottage industries should be revived. They provide
employment to meet the needs of the villagers and facilitate village self-sufficiency. Gandhians are not
against machine per se if it meets two aims: self-sufficiency and full employment. According to Gandhi,
there would be no objection to villagers using even the modern machines and tools that they could make and
could afford to use. Only they should not be used as a means of exploitation of others.
Trusteeship:
Gandhiji was not against the institution of private property. But he wanted to restrict the right of private
property to what was necessary to yield an honourable livelihood. For the excess he prescribed the principle
of trusteeship.
Gandhiji emphasized the principle of trusteeship in social and economic affairs. He firmly believed that all
social property should be held in trust. The capitalists would take care not only of themselves but also of
others. Some of their surplus wealth would be used for the rest of the society.
The poor workers, under trusteeship, would consider the capitalists as their benefactors; and would repose
faith in their noble intentions. Gandhiji felt that if such a trusteeship were established, the welfare of the
workers would increase and the clash between the workers and employers would be avoided. Trusteeship
would help considerably in realising a state of equality on earth.
Gandhiji firmly believed that land should not be owned by any individual. Land belongs to God. Hence,
individual ownership of land should be shunned. For that a landowner should be persuaded to become a
trustee of his land. He should be convinced that the land he owns does not belong to him. Land belongs to
the community and must be used for the welfare of the community. They are merely trustees. By persuasion
the heart of landowners should be changed and they should be induced to donate their land voluntarily.

If the land owners do not oblige and continue to exploit the poor workers, the latter should organise nonviolent, non- cooperation, civil disobedience struggles against them. Gandhiji rightly held the view that no
person can amass wealth without the cooperation, willing or forced, of the people concerned.
If this knowledge were to penetrate and spread amongst the poor, they would become strong and learn how
to free themselves from the crushing inequalities which have pushed them to the verge of starvation. But the
oppressed should not take recourse to violent methods. In the Gandhian scheme of things, the principle of
cooperation, love and service is most important and violence has no place in it. Violence is against moral
values and civilized society is inconceivable in the absence of moral values.
Gandhijis concept of development is oriented to the uplift of the common man. He preferred village habitats
to megalopolises and Swadeshi craft to imported technology for the economic well being of the common
man. He stressed the need for cottage industries in place of gigantic industries and advocated for a
decentralised economy instead of a centralised one.
He realised the need for integrated rural development and believed that education, health and vocation
should be properly integrated. He emphasised the need for education and training which he called Naitalim
(New training) for rural reconstruction.
In fine, Gandhian approach to rural development strives to reconstruct village republics which would be
non-violent, self- governed and self-sufficient so far as the basic necessities of ruralites are concerned. Apart
from creating a new socio-economic order, it Endeavours to transform man; otherwise the changes in the
socio-economic order will be short-lived.
social audit[edit]
Civil society organisations (CSOs), nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), political representatives, civil
servants and workers of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradeshcollectively organise social audits to prevent
corruption under the NREGA.[78] As the corruption is attributed to the secrecy in governance, the 'Jansunwai'
or public hearing and the right to information (RTI), enacted in 2005, are used to fight this secrecy.
[79]
Official records obtained using RTI are read out at the public hearing to identify and rectify irregularities.
"This process of reviewing official records and determining whether state reported expenditures reflect the
actual monies spent on the ground is referred to as a social audit." [80] Participation of informed citizens
promotes collective responsibility and awareness about entitlements.[81]

The process of a social audit


A continuous process of social audit on NREGA works involves public vigilance and verification at the
stipulated 11 stages of implementation: registration of families; distribution of job cards; receipt of work
applications; selection of suitable public works; preparation of technical estimates; work allocation;
implementation and supervision; payment of wages; payment of unemployment allowance; evaluation of
outcomes; and mandatory social audit in the Gram Sabha or Social Audit Forum. The Gram Panchayat
Secretary called Sarpanch is designated as the authority responsible for carrying out the social audit at all
stages. For some stages, the programme officer and the junior engineer is also responsible along with

Sarpanch.[82]
The statute designates the Gram Sabha meetings held to conduct social audit as the Social Audit Forums
and spells out three steps to make them effective: publicity and preparation of documents; organizational
and procedural aspects; and the mandatory agenda involving questions verifying compliance with norms
specified at each of the 11 stages of implementation.[83]
An application under the RTI to access relevant official documents is the first step of the social audit. Then
the management personnel of the social audit verify these official records by conducting field visits. Finally,
the 'Jansunwai' or public hearing is organised at two levels: thePanchayat or village level and
the Mandal level. The direct public debate involving the beneficiaries, political representatives, civil
servants and, above all, the government officers responsible for implementing the NREGA works highlights
corruption like the practice of rigging muster rolls (attendance registers) and also generates public
awareness about the scheme.[84]
These social audits on NREGA works in Rajasthan highlight: a significant demand for the scheme, less that
2 per cent corruption in the form of fudging of muster rolls, building the water harvesting infrastructure as
the first priority in the drought-prone district, reduction of out-migration, and above all the women
participation of more than 80 per cent in the employment guarantee scheme. The need for effective
management of tasks, timely payment of wages and provision of support facilities at work sites is also
emphasised.[85][86]
To assess the effectiveness of the mass social audits on NREGA works in Andhra Pradesh, a World
Bank study investigated the effect of the social audit on the level of public awareness about NREGA, its
effect on the NREGA implementation, and its efficacy as a grievance redressal mechanism. The study found
that the public awareness about the NREGA increased from about 30 per cent before the social audit to
about 99 per cent after the social audit. Further, the efficacy of NREGA implementation increased from an
average of about 60 per cent to about 97 per cent.
The PACS social audit process
The PACS social audit process takes 5 days to complete.
Days 1 and 2: verification of information. This includes:
Visiting the work that has been done under MGNREGA and checking it against the annual
plan and records of work
Inspecting all the surrounding documentation including requests for job cards, requests for
work, assignment of work and payment information
Interviewing MGNREGA workers to find out when and how much they were paid, the
conditions on-site, their inclusion in the planning process and to identify any other concerns they have
Carrying out resource mapping to determine whether the assets created by MGNREGA
works are used and accessed by the whole community
Day 3: presentation and discussion of the initial findings at a Gram Sabha (village meeting)
Day 4: consolidation of the findings into a final report
Day 5: presentation of the final report at a Jansunwai (Panchayat-level public hearing). These public
hearings are attended by members of local government, block level officials and relevant government
departments,
and
the
necessary
actions
are
determined
for
going
forward.
Social audit success
PACS first launched its social audit trial in 200 Gram Panchayats in 20 districts of Bihar and Jharkhand.
Due to its success, the campaign was up-scaled to all 7 PACS states covering 60 districts.
In total PACS has trained 80 master trainers and 425 community facilitators to lead the social audit
process the master trainers are responsible for training community-based individuals to carry out social
audits in the field. In total, 593 inclusive social audits were carried out in Gram Panchayats and villages to

ensure that MGNREGA work is benefitting all community members.


In many states, the state government has now accepted the approach and model of PACS, carrying out social
audits that include the participation of excluded communities. Indeed many of our Civil Society
Organisation (CSO) partners have become part of resource groups in the government-led social audit
process and many of the trainers and facilitators prepared under our MGNREGA campaign are being
engaged to lead the social audit processes.
For example, the Government of Jharkhand signed a Memorandum of Understanding with our CSO partners
in August 2014, assigning them to carry out social audits across various districts using the PACS model. In
addition, PACS has been invited to be a member of the State Advisory Committee on Social Audit in Uttar
Pradesh and our partners are members of the social audit cells constituted in Bihar and Jharkhand.
PACS has also been recognised by the Government of India's Ministry of Rural Development and is a
named member on its Master Trainers list.

I. MGNREGA: A brief introduction


A. Objectives: MGNREGA, which is the largest work guarantee programme in the world, was enacted in
2005 with the primary objective of guaranteeing 100 days of wage employment per year to rural
households. Secondly, it aims at addressing causes of chronic poverty through the works (projects) that
are undertaken, and thus ensuring sustainable development. Finally, there is an emphasis on strengthening
the process of decentralisation through giving a significant role to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in
planning and implementing these works.
B. Key features:
Legal right to work: Unlike earlier employment guarantee schemes, the Act provides a legal right
to employment for adult members of rural households. At least one third beneficiaries have to be women.
Wages must be paid according to the wages specified for agricultural labourers in the state under the
Minimum Wages Act, 1948, unless the central government notifies a wage rate (this should not be less than
Rs 60 per day). At present, wage rates are determined by the central government but vary across states,
ranging from Rs 135 per day to Rs 214 per day.
Time bound guarantee of work and unemployment allowance: Employment must be provided
with 15 days of being demanded failing which an unemployment allowance must be given.
Decentralised planning: Gram sabhas must recommend the works that are to be undertaken and at
least 50% of the works must be executed by them. PRIs are primarily responsible for planning,
implementation and monitoring of the works that are undertaken.
Work site facilities: All work sites should have facilities such as crches, drinking water and first
aid.
Transparency and accountability: There are provisions for proactive disclosure through wall
writings, citizen information boards, Management Information Systems and social audits. Social audits are
conducted by gram sabhas to enable the community to monitor the implementation of the scheme.
Funding: Funding is shared between the centre and the states. There are three major items of
expenditure wages (for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labour), material and administrative costs. The
central government bears 100% of the cost of unskilled labour, 75% of the cost of semi-skilled and skilled
labour, 75% of the cost of materials and 6% of the administrative costs.
MGNREGA was implemented in phases, starting from February 2006, and at present it covers all districts
of the country with the exception of those that have a 100% urban population. The Act provides a list of
works that can be undertaken to generate employment related to water conservation, drought proofing, land
development, and flood control and protection works. Table 1 provides information regarding employment
generation and expenditure under MGNREGA.
II. Findings and Recommendations of the Standing Committee on Rural Development
A. Achievements: The Standing Committee highlighted several achievements of MGNREGA in the seven

years of its implementation, especially:


Ensuring livelihood for people in rural areas.
Large scale participation of women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs/STs) and other
traditionally marginalised sections of society. SCs/STs account for 51% of the total person-days generated
and women account for 47% of the total person-days generated.
Increasing the wage rate in rural areas and strengthening the rural economy through the creation of
infrastructure assets.
Facilitating sustainable development, and
Strengthening PRIs by involving them in the planning and monitoring of the scheme.
B. Challenges: However, the Committee found several issues with the implementation of the scheme. As
Table 1 (above) shows, the average number of days of employment provided to households has been lower
than the mandated 100 days, and has been decreasing since 2010-11.
Key issues that the Committee raised include
Fabrication of job cards: While as many as 12.5 crore households have been issued job cards out of
an estimated 13.8 crore rural households ( as per the 2001 census), there are several issues related to
existence of fake job cards, inclusion of fictitious names, missing entries and delays in making entries in job
cards.
Delay in payment of wages: Most states have failed to disburse wages within 15 days as mandated
by MGNREGA. In addition, workers are not compensated for a delay in payment of wages.
Non payment of unemployment allowances: Most states do not pay an unemployment allowance
when work is not given on demand. The non-issuance of dated receipts of demanded work prevents
workers from claiming an unemployment allowance.
Large number of incomplete works: There has been a delay in the completion of works under
MGNREGA and inspection of projects has been irregular. Implementing agencies were able to complete
only 98 lakh works out of 296 lakh works. As Table 2 shows, a large percentage of works remain
incomplete under MGNREGA and the work completion rate appears to be decreasing in recent years.
Other key challenges include poor quality of assets created, several instances of corruption in the
implementation of MGNREGA, and insufficient involvement of PRIs.
C. Recommendations: The Committee made the following recommendations, based on its findings:
Regulation of job cards: Offences such as not recording employment related information in job
cards and unlawful possession of job cards with elected PRI representatives and MGNREGA functionaries
should be made punishable under the Act.
Participation of women: Since the income of female workers typically raises the standard of living
of their households to a greater extent than their male counterparts, the participation of women must be
increased through raising awareness about MGNREGA.
Participation of people with disabilities: Special works (projects) must be identified for people
with disabilities; and special job cards must be issued and personnel must be employed to ensure their
participation.
Utilisation of funds: The Committee found that a large amount of funds allocated for MGNREGA
have remained unutilised. For example, in 2010-11, 27.31% of the funds remained unutilised. The
Committee recommends that the Department of Rural Development should analyse reasons for poor
utilisation of funds and take steps to improve the same. In addition, it should initiate action against officers
found guilty of misappropriating funds under MGNREGA.
Context specific projects and convergence: Since states are at various stages of socio-economic
development, they have varied requirements for development. Therefore, state governments should be
allowed to undertake works that are pertinent to their context. There should be more emphasis on skilled
and semi-skilled work under MGNREGA. In addition, the Committee recommends a greater emphasis on
convergence with other schemes such as theNational Rural Livelihoods Mission, National Rural Health
Mission, etc.
Payment of unemployment allowance: Dated receipts for demanded work should be issued so that
workers can claim unemployment allowance. Funds for unemployment allowance should be met by the

central government.
Regular monitoring: National Level Monitors (NLMs) are deployed by the Ministry of Rural
Development for regular and special monitoring of MGNREGA and to enquire into complaints regarding
mis-utilisation of funds, etc. The Committee recommends that the frequency of monitoring by NLMs
should increase and appropriate measures should be taken by states based on their recommendations.
Additionally, social audits must mandatorily be held every six months. The Committee observes that the
performance of MGNREGA is better in states with effective social audit mechanisms.
Training of functionaries: Training and capacity building of elected representatives and other
functionaries of PRIs must be done regularly as it will facilitate their involvement in the implementation of
MGNREGA.

The Act does, however, include several components that may serve as the basis for a quantifiable
definition of success. To begin with:
1. Number of days worked
The Act requires states to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment to each
household requesting work.13 Thus, the number of workers completing 100 days of work in a state under
MGNREGA could be used as a quantitative measure of the relative success of the program in that state.
This statistic is not without its drawbacks as a measure of successful MGNREGA implementation
because it amalgamates supply and demand effects. An insufficient supply of 100 days of work is generally
the
result of a states failure to provide enough work. On the other hand, a worker may not work the full 100
days due to insufficient demand for 100 days of work. To the extent that workers do not complete 100 days
of work in the MGNREGA program due to a lack of supply, the statistic may indeed reveal implementation
weaknesses of the MGNREGA program. Yet if the problem is demand, this statistic may be misleading as a
measure of MGNREGA success because insufficient demand for 100 days of work may ultimately indicate
success rather than failure. For instance, demand for work may decrease as a result of rising wages in other
work opportunities, lower poverty levels, or higher general economic well being.
Nonetheless, we believe that, given the high levels of poverty in India, the supply effects outweigh
the demand effects, such that the completion of 100 days of work constitutes a valid measure of success of
MGNREGA implementation. If demand effects were predominant, one would expect a significant negative
relationship between the number of days worked and development indicators such as the MPI, NDP and
percentage of BPL households - that is, fewer days worked would correspond to higher levels of
development. However, our data analysis does not demonstrate such a relationship.14 Moreover, field
research in UP and Tamil Nadu suggests that MGNREGA work remains vastly supply-driven, even in states
with high implementation capacity. We thus conclude that the number of days worked can legitimately be
used as one of the indicators of success of MGNREGA implementation.15
2. Wage levels
MGNREGA entitles every worker to wages at the specified wage rate for each day of work.16 The
GoI has set minimum wage levels for unskilled manual labor.17 It is therefore possible to evaluate the
effectiveness of MGNREGA implementation in a state by comparing the wages disbursed to workers in that
state to the wage levels they are entitled to receive under the MGNREGA program.18 Such a measure is also
a
useful indicator of the success of MGNREGA in general because high wages contribute to the ultimate goal
of livelihood security.
MGNREGA Implementation
6
3. The inclusion of at least one-third of women beneficiaries.19
The Act requires that one third of beneficiaries of the program be women, preserving in the law the
principle that women cannot be excluded from MGNREGA work. In theory, the 1/3 provision should
serve as an important safeguard to ensure womens inclusion in the labor market in areas where women have
historically not had access to remunerated employment.20 Therefore, the degree to which states implement
the 1/3 provision, is a useful indicator of the successfulness of MGNREGA implementation in that state.
These three indicatorsnumber of days worked, wages paid, and inclusion of womennot only

reflect the spirit of the Act, but constitute quantifiable components of MGNREGA implementation. The
number of days worked helps to measure the success of MGNREGA as an employment guarantee scheme.
The wage rate helps to measure the success of MGNREGA as a poverty alleviation tool. The participation of
women in the MGNREGA program helps to measure the success of MGNREGA as an empowerment tool.
We therefore constructed a composite indicator of all three of these elements, weighted equally.

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is now seven months old. It guarantees 100 days
of employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members are willing to do unskilled
manual work. The Act, launched in February 2006, has come into force in 200 districts of the country.
The NREGA is an important step towards realisation of the right to work. It is expected to enhance people's
livelihood security on a sustained basis, by developing economic and social infrastructure in rural areas. One
of the most distinguishing features of the NREGA is its approach towards empowering citizens to play an
active role in the implementation of employment guarantee schemes, through gram sabhas, social audit,
participatory planning and other activities.
"More than 83.05 lakh rural households have been provided work under the NREGA," said Rural
Development Minister Dr Raghuvansh Prasad at a meeting in the Lok Sabha on August 25, 2006. He went
on to add that 254,73,820 job cards had been issued, of which 89,43,703 people had demanded employment.
The NREGA is being closely monitored by various stakeholders, from policymakers to grassroots
organisations. Surveys -- both rapid and extensive -- are being carried out to assess its implementation on the
ground. Reports point out where the Act is lagging behind, and areas where efforts are visible and
appreciated. This article discusses some quarters that need to be addressed in order to meet the objectives of
the Act.
Registration of families
Definition of a household
The operational guidelines of the NREGA detail a household as a nuclear family comprising mother, father
and their children. In addition, a household refers to a single-member family. Despite this explanation, there
is still a lot of confusion about the definition of this critical term. For instance, reports from Madhya Pradesh
(Dhar district) show that gram panchayats treat joint families as one household, thus issuing them a single
job card. Our country has historically followed the system of joint families; such practices will put joint
families in a disadvantageous position.
Denial of registration
Reports from the field point to incidents of denial of registration to single-woman-headed households and
physically challenged individuals. Discrimination based on caste has also been noted in some states like
Gujarat. During a survey conducted by Participatory Research in Action (PRIA) in the state of Uttar Pradesh
(Sitapur district), women were discouraged from registering. In Gujarat (Sabarkantha district) the aged and
physically challenged were denied registration forms (report by Participatory Research in Action (PRIA);
survey undertaken from April 25-May 25 in 11 states. For complete report
visithttp://www.righttofoodindia.org/rtowork/ega_articles.html).
Distribution of job cards

According to data provided on the NREGA website (www.nrega.nic.in), maintained by the Ministry of Rural
Development, the percentage of job cards issued to registered households varies across states. For some
states like Maharashtra it stands at 12%, while for others such as Andhra Pradesh it is over 90%.
Delay in distribution of job cards
The point of concern, however, is not just the percentage of issue of job cards but the percentage
of distributionof job cards. Though job cards have been prepared across most states, in many states they
have not reached the people, thereby restricting their right to demand work. A probable cause for this is the
workload of the panchayat sevak who undertakes the task of distribution. On average, each sevak has two or
three panchayats under him/her, thus making the task extremely difficult.
Applications for work and their receipt
Unsolicited fees being charged for work application forms
Fees for application forms are being charged in many states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.
The fee ranges from Rs 5 to Rs 50 in some states. Forms are also sold openly in local markets or haats. This
flouts the NREGA guidelines that state that applications may even be submitted to the gram panchayat on a
plain piece of paper.
Non-issuance of receipts
Another general problem noted in the villages is the absence of a system to issue receipts (pauthis) to
applicants. This could be because of lack of awareness on the part of the panchayat sevak and the villagers.
Receipts, however, are crucial as a proof of work demanded.
Implementation and supervision of NREGS works
Absence of worksite facilities
The NREGA provides for facilities for safe drinking water, shade for children, periods of rest and a first-aid
box at the work site (Section 27, Schedule II of the NREGA). But a lot has to be done to ensure these
facilities, the notable absence of which is a problem that cuts across states. Some reports from the field in
Orissa (Kalahandi district) (Advisor to the Commissioners; Implementation of NREGA in Bhawanipatna
block of Kalahandi district of Orissa, June 2006), Chhattisgarh (Jashpur district), Jharkhand (Palamau
district), Madhya Pradesh (Jhabua, Khandwa and Umaria districts) and Gujarat (Sabarkantha district)
observe a complete lack of facilities at the worksite. In Rajasthan's Dungarpur district, however, it was
heartening to note that medical kits were found at most worksites.
Small children remain unattended, in the heat. As a consequence, women are hesitant to bring their children
to the sites. It also forces them to rethink about applying for work in the first place. Trees act as the only
source of shade for the rural poor working at the sites. The Commissioners of the Supreme Court (in the case
of PUCL vs UoI and others) have advised the states that if need be, temporary shelters must be built for
those doing NREGA labour. The PIL focuses on the general need to uphold the 'right to food', which follows
from the fundamental 'right to life' enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Though the final
judgment in the case is still awaited, significant 'interim orders' have been passed from time to time.
Presence of contractors
Like in many other rural development programmes, contractors are increasingly becoming a threat to the
NREGA. Though this may not be very apparent on the surface, private contractors are slowly finding their
way into the system. The Act clearly states (Schedule I, Section 11), that no contractor is permitted in the
implementation of these projects. Yet, reports from Chhattisgarh and Orissa point towards this emerging
problem.

Non-availability of muster rolls at the worksite


It is rare indeed to find muster rolls at the worksites. Reports from across NREGA districts show
that kutchamuster rolls/attendance sheets are being maintained by people at worksites. Rough notebooks and
diaries are being used to mark attendance and make wage payments.
Shortage of staff and delay in appointments
The Act's launch was not accompanied by the appointment of additional staff for its implementation. This
has resulted in the existing staff being burdened with additional work. At the panchayat level, the guidelines
specifically advised the appointment of a 'rozgar sevak'. Disappointingly, this has not yet been done. The
lack of staff is having a negative impact on the workings of the NREGA. A survey in Jashpur block,
Chhattisgarh, found that sub-engineers were being burdened with the task of maintaining job cards, implying
that their primary tasks suffered. Such additional appointments are a rare opportunity to provide employment
to the youth in our villages and should not be allowed to be squandered due to administrative hurdles.
Stopping of works
Some states like Chhattisgarh have disrupted work under the NREGA on account of the monsoons. A
circular issued by the Chhattisgarh government clearly states that from June 15 to October 15, the state will
not be liable to open works within 15 days, or provide an unemployment allowance. Rumours of similar
disruptions also abound in the state of Orissa. Such declarations not only violate the Act, they also affect
landless farmers. Field organisations from Chhattisgarh report that due to such stoppages, the wage rate has
decreased to as little as Rs 15, leaving landless farmers with no negotiating powers. They are forced to
accept whatever is determined by rich landlords. Such occurrences beat the objectives of the formulation of
the NREGA.
Disruption due to imposition of election code of conduct
Elections (including by-polls and state elections) also disrupt the Act's implementation. Early this year (in
March 2006), some states like West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam witnessed a disruption in the
NREGA due to the imposition of the election code of conduct. Lately, the NREGA process is being
disrupted in the Malda and Puruliya districts of West Bengal, on account of by-polls. Absence of confirmed
employment, refusal of work to applicants and a ban on starting new works in these areas are forcing
labourers to migrate in search of work. This, despite clear instructions from the Planning Commission that
job cardholders would be provided employment after the announcement of elections (for complete
instructions issued by the Planning Commission send an email to commissioners@vsnl.net).
Payment of wages
Delay in wage payments
Delays in wage payments have always been a matter of concern in previous employment programmes, and
this issue continues to plague the NREGA. Wage payments are delayed for weeks, sometimes months. The
time lag varies from state to state. For instance, in Jashpur district, Chhattisgarh, month-long delays were
noted. In some areas like Barwani district, Madhya Pradesh, the delay was for a period of 15 to 30 days.
Delays were also noted in Manika and Manatu blocks in Jharkhand.
Payment of less than the minimum wage
In many states, workers do not earn minimum wages. For instance, in Gujarat's Sabarkantha district the paid
wage is as low as Rs 4 to Rs 7 (status report on implementation of the NREGA in Gujarat, prepared by Sabar
Ekta Manch and Janpath, April 2006); in Kalahandi district (Bhawanipatna block) of Orissa workers earn
between Rs 40-Rs 50, whereas the minimum wage is Rs 55. Women are paid even less -- about Rs 30 per
day. In some states like Jharkhand, workers are paid as little as Rs 10.

The reasons behind payment of less than the minimum wage vary. In some states soil type is not being
considered, as a result of which payments are affected. The system of chauka in some states like Jharkhand
also leads to the lowering of wages. As elaborated by Jean Dreze and Bela Bhatia, in their article titled
'Employment Guarantee in Jharkhand: Ground Realities', published in the Economic and Political Weekly,
July 22, 2006: "Under this system, the workers are supposed to dig a chauka (pit) of pre-specified size (for
example, 100 cubic feet in the case of soft soil) in order to earn the minimum wage. In practice, this system
raises several problems. To start with, it typically takes more than a day for an average labourer to complete
the specified task, making it hard to earn the statutory minimum wage. This is a violation of the Act, which
states that the "schedule of rates" should be such that a labourer working for seven hours would normally
earn the minimum wage (Schedule I, Section 8)."
While we have highlighted some of the implementation problems of the NREGA, it is important to note that
the Act is still in its infancy. It takes years to put in place the tools and instruments needed to actualise the
right to employment through a scheme, even in the best of circumstances.
The NREGA addresses itself chiefly to working people and their fundamental right to live with dignity. The
success of the NREGA, however, will depend on people's realisation of the Act as a right. Effective levels of
awareness and sustained public pressure are crucial to ensure that the implementation problems are
addressed and the objectives met.

Objectives and Benefits of MGNREGA


The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act abbreviated as MGNREGA is an act of
law and was formulated on 25th August 2005. The Leaders of the country and the Protectors of law realized
that without complete growth of the rural areas in the country, India cannot achieve its dreams. To expand
the success and growth story, one needs to focus on the rural areas and poor villagers. For any city, the major
provider of ultimate source of wealth is village. It is an irony that the people who take care of the natural
resources with complete dedication and help the nation grow each day and night are the ones who do not
have access to basic requirements like food, shelter and clothing. With such a heart breaking study and
analysis, MGNREGA was introduced. It main agenda is to provide a decent lifestyle to the people of rural
India by ensuring at least 100 days of work on wage system in every 365 days. MGNREGA also focuses to
improve and develop the most basic natural resources of land and water. Benefits of MGNREGA are to
create assets for the poor villagers by better connectivity and developing the basic livelihood resource base
of the rural poor.
MGNREGA aims to provide schemes which in turn provide opportunity to work for the adults of a family to
do unskilled work at a minimum payout of INR 120.00 per day. This will help in creating substantial
infrastructure in rural areas and also increases the purchasing power of the rural. MGNREGA is considered
and analyzed as the worlds largest public sector scheme to improvise Human Development Index (HDI).
The Objectives and Benefits of MGNREGA are outlined in a nutshell below:

Providing unskilled work for rural India in the rural areas.

Ensuring complete openness and ownership in the governance.

Improvising the entire system of democracy.

Ensuring sustainable development by developing the natural resources of land and water.

Providing an important role to the Panchayati raj.


MGNREGA contributes to benefit the poor with a special inclination to develop land and water. This has
made life easy for the families of poor farmers and villagers as they are able to earn better and do not have to
move to metros to earn their bread and butter. Moreover, these schemes focus on making the environment
cleaner and greener, hence reduces any risk that is directly proportional to climate.