MGNREGA

News: 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.

Details:

  • Advocates for rural workers have argued that the drop in demand is due to funding constraints, and urged a significant increase in allocations for the scheme in Union budget.
  • The Centre had infused ₹40,000 crore worth of additional funding early in the first lockdown.
  • However, additional funding was not available until late in the year when many States had already run out of money, forcing an artificial suppression in demand on the ground.

About MGNREGA:

  • 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.
  • Key objectives of the scheme are as following:
    • 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.

Who are eligible?

  • 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:

  • 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.