Right to Work (MG-NREGA)

Right to Work (MG-NREGA)

 

KEY TRENDS 

 

• In drought affected states, 28.35 lakh households were provided more than 100 days of employment in 2015-16. In other words, only 5.9 percent of all households in drought affected states got more than 100 days of employment (provided drought is notified in a state or if a state has given additional days of employment) $$

• Although 5.35 crore households demanded employment, only 4.82 crore households got employment under MGNREGA in 2015-16. It means that 9.9 percent of households were not provided employment under MGNREGA despite making demand $$
 

• Analysis of household survey data from Bihar shows that under ideal conditions, the rural poverty rate of 50% at the time of the survey could come down by at least 14 percentage points. However, compared to a potential reduction in poverty by 14 percentage points, actual impact on rural poverty is only about 1 percentage point $

• The World Bank study has highlighted a number of reasons why the potential impact of MGNREGS may not be realized in practice: the supply side is too slow to respond to the demand for work on the scheme; workers are not paid the full scheme wage; delays in wage payment; and awareness of how to demand work is limited $

 

• About 38.4% of the households in rural areas had MGNREGA job cards during July 2011 to June 2012 #

 

• Among rural persons of age 18 years and above registered in MGNREG job cards, 50.5% got work in MGNREGA work, 18.8% sought but did not get MGNREG works and 30.5% did not seek work in MGNERG work during July 2011 to June 2012 #

 

• Employment provided to the SC households (in person days) stood at 78.75 crore during 2010-11, 46.6 crore during 2011-12 (as on 30.01.2013) and 32.61 crore during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). Employment provided to the ST households (in person days) stood at 53.61 crore during 2010-11, 38.38 crore during 2011-12 (as on 30.01.2013) and 22.70 crore during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013) @

• Percentage of unspent amount (of total available funds) under the MGNREGA stood at 27.31% during 2010-11, 22.11% during 2011-12 (provisional) and 32.82% during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). Huge unspent balances were lying with some big States such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan etc @

• The Standing Committee is astonished to note that so far only 4078 workers were paid unemployment allowances in 8 States during 2006-09 and Rs. 1,23,589 has been paid to eligible beneficiaries in 2010-11 in six States @

• The Standing Committee noted that 2,91,776 Social Audits have been conducted during 2011-12 in 1,72,852 Panchayats out of 2,48,204 Gram Panchayats in the country. The Committee also found that so far 263 Ombudsman (for grievance redressal) have been appointed in 22 States @

• The Standing Committee expressed its astonishment to note that despite constitution of District Planning Committees (DPCs) in most of the States, PRIs have not been able to formulate District Perspective Plan, a necessary condition of effective utilization of funds available under MGNREGA @

• Analysis of data by the CAG related to the performance of the scheme showed that there has been significant decline in per rural household employment generation in the last two years. Per rural household employment, declined from 54 days in 2009-10 to 43 days in 2011-12. There was also a substantial decline in the proportion of works completed in 2011-12. Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, which together account for 46 percent of the rural poor, utilized only about 20 percent of the central scheme funds. This indicated that the correlation between poverty levels and implementation of MGNREGA was not very high *$
 
• In 10 states and 4 UTs, Government had not constituted Social Audit Units to facilitate the social audit forums. In 11 states and one UT, it was seen that significant fewer social audits from prescribed norms were conducted *$

• Deficiencies, relating to both non-maintenance and incorrect maintenance of prescribed basic records, were noticed in 18 to 54 percent of the all test checked Gram Panchayats, for various types of records. Widespread deficiencies in the maintenance of records restricted the process of proper verification of the outputs and outcomes of the scheme *$
 
• Percentage share of employment availed by women under MGNREGA was 40% during 2006-07, 43% in 2007-08, 48% in 2008-09, 48% in 2009-10 and 48% in 2010-11. Hence, the percentage of women beneficiary under MGNREGA has been much higher than provided under the Act (i.e. 33% of total employment)

• Out of total 26.69 crore registered workers under MGNREGA for whom job cards have been issued so far, 11.62 crore (43.53%) are women. In 2010-2011, out of the total of 8.73 crore workers who requested for work, 3.92 crore (44.9%) were women
 
$$ MGNREGA: Performance, Initiatives and Strategies (FY 2015-16 and FY 2016-17), please click here to access the report
 
$ India Development Update: Towards a Higher Growth Path, World Bank, April 2015 (please click here to access)
 
# NSS68th Round Report: Employment and Unemployment Situation among Social Groups in India (released in January 2015), please click here to download the report
 
@ 42nd Standing Committee Report (2012-13) on Rural Development entitled: Implementation of MGNREGA, 2005 presented to Lok Sabha on 14.08.2013, (please click here to access)

*$ Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India on Performance Audit of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Report no.-6 of 2013-Union Government (Ministry of Rural Development),

http://saiindia.gov.in/english/home/Our_Products/Audit_Rep
ort/Government_Wise/union_audit/recent_reports/union_perfo
rmance/2013/Civil/Report_6/Report_6.html

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guaranty Act (MGNREGA) and Empowerment of Women in Rural Areas by Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women (2011-12), Fourteenth Report, Lok Sabha Secretariat, May, 2012, http://www.im4change.org/docs/692mgnrega_report.pdf


 

OVERVIEW 

 

The NREGA evokes extreme reactions from supporters and opponents. When the scheme was launched in 200 districts in 2005, and later expanded to cover the entire country in 2008, its advocates hailed it as the beginning of a new era for rural India. However, it enraged India’s influential neo-liberal economists so much that one of them claimed he had found a better way of ‘wasting’ public money: showering of currency notes from helicopters. For now, the skeptics are silent mainly because of three reasons, a) the scheme is widely regarded as successful, b) It is being hailed as an important reason for the UPA’s return to power, and c) the recession-hit Western world is swearing by public expenditure on welfare. Of late, their criticism is mainly confined to corruption and malpractices, which, in all fairness, are rampant though not insurmountable. 

The NREGA differs from most poverty mitigation schemes so far in one fundamental way: It recognizes employment as a legal right. Its fringe benefits include inclusion of the rural poor in the banking system, regeneration of community assets and gender equality. The enactment of NREGA also signifies coming of age of Indian advocacy and civil society activism. The credit for converting a somewhat utopian idea into a policy push goes to numerous civil society activists, committed experts and grassroots organizations who worked for years to achieve this. Many of these activists are now working on effective social audits and a system of compensations for delay in wage payments.

Some leading NGOs in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh have enrolled graduate students from leading universities and hip urban youths to run NREGA helpdesks. At places they are also helping in conducting social audits. For instance a month-long struggle with the help of young Delhi University volunteers led to a compensation of Rs 2000 each to 174 villagers in Khunti and Murhu blocks in Jharkhand amounting to Rs 3.48 lakh in June 2009. These villagers’ wages had been delayed in gross violation of the statutes.   
 
Despite the optimism generated by the implementation of the NREGA, it runs the risk of degenerating into yet another government dole in the absence of comprehensive reforms in India’s local governance and public service delivery mechanism. Many experts argue that an effective execution of the NREGA requires a cadre of functionaries accountable to the village Panchayats with adequate funding and a comprehensive roadmap.

 


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