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Rural job scheme: Hits & Misses

Jul 04, 2015

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In 2005, India passed the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which is both a labour law and a social security measure. A look at how it has fared. Compiled by Kritika Kapoor.

  • 1. Rural Job Scheme: Hits & Misses A compilation of research studies

2. What is MGNREGA? In 2005, the union government passed the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which is both a labour law and a social security measure. It aims to tackle poverty through the generation of employment of unskilled labour and thus, incomes. 3. The Mandate The Act promises at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work Bottom-up, people-centered, demand-driven, self-selecting and rights-based 4. Objectives: Social Protection for the vulnerable Creation of durable assets; protection of land and water resources Rural Flood Management Empower the marginalised (SCs, STs, women etc) Deepening of democracy to grassroots levels Cover over 200 rural districts 5. Salient Features Registration with Gram Panchayat in writing, or orally Job Cards to each registered household for identification, notification of work and wages Work provided within 5 km of residence; transport financed otherwise 6. Salient Features Priority to women for work Prohibits use of contractors and machinery Wages to be paid weekly Transparency (Social Audits, Public Scrutiny) 7. Ground Realities The success of the MGNREGA remains dubious. While the achievements cannot be denied, the failures have become evident too. Issues related to MGNREGA 8. Positive Change 5 crore households, around 25% of all rural households, were provided over 209 crore person-days of work in 2011-12 66 % of the total expenditure under MGNREGA was spent on worker wages 40-50 % is the share of SCs and STs in the work provided across each year of the schemes implementation 47% of the total person-days generated have been by women 9. 27 to 7% was the drop in distress migration in Anantpur Andhra Pradesh due to availability of work 51% works related to water conservation, flood control, irrigation, drought water bodies 9 % rise in gross cropped area in Bihar thus good returns of both public and private assets. 70% of the irrigation structures ensured perennial water across agricultural seasons 10. A Long Wait Only 10 % households in Rajasthan received payments within limit; in Madhya Pradesh, 23% In Mandla, Madhya Pradesh and Narmada, Gujarat, people shifted back to other works due to delay Over 10 crore post/bank office accounts 80% of the total wages are now being paid through these 11. Migration Distress migration down but migration in search of better and more lucrative opportunities continues as before MGNREGA cannot match the wages of skilled labour in cities. 12. In Rajsamand and Dungarpur districts of Rajasthan much of the MGNREGA workers were women and elderly while younger men migrated to urban centres for relatively higher incomes. 13. Success of Assets Dependent on district/region-specific implementation of the scheme Affected by factors such as poor planning, lack of technical support, irregular flow of funds, delayed payment Lack of community involvement Lapse in the efforts of Gram Parishads 14. Women: On the Field Only Gender difference in wages reduced, yet in some public works, the difference is larger : Rs 98.3 for men and Rs 86.1 for women. Unavailability of work-site facilities like crches is a huge disincentive Participation of women in the scheme limited to field work Absence in worksite management, in staff appointments, planning through participation in gram sabhas and social audits 15. To get it known Low awareness about benefits of MGNREGA has been another impediment which can be changed though social audits Improvement in awareness levels before and after social audits 16. A Government dole rife with Corruption Fake entries in muster rolls Payment of less than notified wages Delay in payments Inadequate staff and irregular supervision Highly irregular social audits thus lack of transparency and awareness Inactivity of gram parishads and sabhas 17. As CAG looks at it Non-payment or under payment of wages of Rs 36.97 crore noticed in 14 states. Works amounting to around Rs 4,070 crore incomplete after one to five years of launching Impermissible works undertaken to the tune of Rs 2,252 crore No social audit units in 10 states and 4 UTs, 99% of beneficiaries not provided work within 15 days were not paid the unemployment allowance. The per rural household employment has declined from 54 days in 2009-10 to 43 days in 2011-12 18. Want to know more? Get in touch at GoI Monitor

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