MGNREGA: Mixed success so far

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published Published on Sep 23, 2010   modified Modified on Sep 23, 2010

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MG-NREGA) has been in news mainly due to corruption or inefficiency. The country has spent close to Rs 40,000 crore this fiscal but a large number of urban middle class people and opinion leaders don’t know what to make of it. Cynicism apart, the rights-based scheme has proved to be a game-changer in rural India despite mixed success.

The scheme has been relatively more successful at places where peoples’ movements or civil society organizations are strong, or at places where the district administration is sympathetic and efficient. At many places, the rural poor have been demanding inflation linked wages. They site the example of the industry and government sectors where salaries go up with the price index. In Rajasthan thousands of men and women have taken to the street to press for demands like wage revision, separate work measurement for every individual and quick payment of wages. They are also demanding strict action against the corrupt officials and representatives.

To get an idea of how sarpanches are subverting the system, and, more importantly, how some districts are trying to fight their scourge, please see anther news alert (i.e.,
). The sarpanches in Rajasthan have been openly violating rules by giving material supply contracts to their favorites. At many places purchase records were fudged and the wage to material ratio (i.e. 60:40) was distorted by using JCB machines instead of employing manual labourers. Embezzlements and frauds are rampant elsewhere in the country as well.

On the positive side, the MGNREGA has succeeded in fighting extreme poverty. This demand-driven scheme recognizes 100 days’ employment per family as a right. It empowers women by giving equal wages and it is bringing millions of ordinary people in the banking system. For more details on the scheme, and its provisions please see (
) The corruption, bending of rules and even embezzlements are not uncommon but the most heartening thing is that the rural poor are fighting corruption through inbuilt provisions like mandatory display of information, use of Right to Information, and by holding social audits.

The im4change team has put together some raw numbers on the implementation of the MG-NREGA in the following paragraphs and the links below give the complete update of the scheme in India. It also lists the latest number of beneficiaries, patterns of wages paid, numbers of job cards made, the scheme’s performance nationwide, including in the most backward districts.  If you read this along with another news alert on the use of technology for accountability, (i.e.
) you will get an idea of how some states are using technology to ensure efficiency in the system.

The table below shows year-wise breakup of the job cards made and employment provided. The person days are also broken into SC/ST families and women. It also shows the total budget outlays and expenditure on wages in the last few years. Below the table are a number of URLs of some of the most important reports and updates on the NREGS. At the bottom are about a dozen more links of government reports and news stories about  the scheme.

Performance of the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA  

Performance of Nrega



According to Employment Generated during the Year 2010-2011,

• Total no. of households and persons who got themselves registered in 2010-2011 at the national level are 11.35 crore and 24.79 crore respectively. Total no. of job cards issued in 2010-2011 at the national level is 11.24 crore.

• 3.16 crore households demanded employment out of which 3.11 crore households were provided employment at the national level. Alternatively, 4.92 crore persons demanded employment, out of which 4.86 crore were provided employment.

• Andhra Pradesh provided the maximum person days of employment during 2010-2011 i.e. 25.75 crore to be followed by Rajasthan (15.80 crore person days) and Uttar Pradesh (10.20 crore person days)

• Employment generated during 2010-2011 at the national level is 94.93 crore person days. Total no. of filled muster rolls is 0.91crore during the same period.

• Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) got 20.65 crore person days and 16.55 crore person days of employment, respectively.

• Only 8,64,777 families completed 100 days of work during 2010-2011 at the national level.

According to Average wage paid pattern during the financial year 2010-2011,

• The national average wage paid during April, 2010 was Rs. 95.53, which fell down to 91.38 in May, 2010 and 90.17 in June, 2010.

According to List Of Registered Family To Whom Job Card Is not Issued 2010-2011,

• There are 0.11 crore no. of registered family at the national level to whom job card has not been issued in 2010-2011.

• There are 4,39,986 no. of registered family in Maharastra to whom job card has not been issued in 2010-2011.

According to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, Report to the People, 2nd February, 2006-2nd February, 2010,

• The Act came into force on February 2, 2006 and was implemented in a phased manner. In Phase I it was introduced in 200 of the most backward districts of the country. It was implemented in an additional 130 districts in Phase II 2007-2008. The Act was notified in the remaining 285 rural districts of India from April 1, 2008 in Phase III.

• With a view to universalise the system of wage payments through institutional accounts, it has been recommended to all States to disburse wages through Post Offices and Bank Accounts. 6.86 crore NREGA bank and post office accounts have been opened to disburse wages in FY 2008-09.

• The number of NREGA bank and post office accounts opened has risen to 8.8 crore 80 % of wages is being disbursed through these accounts. Initial experiments in the use of smart cards and biometric signatures for wage payment to NREGA workers in remote villages are being supported.

• The total no. of households who have demanded employment during FY 2009-10 upto December, 2009 is 4.30 crore out which 4.27 crore households got employment. Rajasthan (0.60 crore) provided employment to maximum no. of households during FY 2009-10 upto December, 2009.

• Around 20007.21 lakh person days of employment was provided during FY 2009-10 upto December, 2009, out which SCs got 5947.94 lakh person days of work and STs got 4415.51 lakh person days of work. 9984.57 lakh person days of employment was provided to women during the same period.

• Average person days per household generated was 46.83 during FY 2009-10 upto December, 2009. Percentage of household, which completed 100 days of employment was 7.08 during the same period.

• In 2008-09, 4.51 crore households were provided employment and 216.32 crore person days of employment were generated.

• Some of the states where the minimum wages have increased after the implementation of NREGA are Maharashtra (from Rs. 47 to Rs. 72), Uttar Pradesh (from Rs. 58 to Rs. 100), Bihar (from Rs. 68 to Rs. 81), Karnataka (from Rs. 62 to Rs. 82), West Bengal (from Rs 64 to Rs. 75), Rajasthan (Rs. 73 to Rs. 100), Madhya Pradesh (from Rs 58 to Rs 91), Himachal Pradesh (from Rs 65 to Rs. 100), Nagaland (from Rs 66 to Rs 100), Jammu & Kashmir (from Rs 45 to Rs. 70), and Chhattisgarh (from Rs 58.73 to Rs 72.23).

• Self-targeting in nature, the Programme had high work participation for marginalised groups like SC/ST (54%), women (48%) in 2008-09.

• In 2008-09, 27.75 lakh works have been undertaken, of which 46% were water conservation, 18% rural connectivity, 15% land development and 20% irrigation works on individual beneficiaries.

• NREGA workers have been identified as a category for Jan Shree Bima Yojna for insurance cover

• Post-NREGA there has been a revision of minimum wages across the country. Average household earning have increased from Rs. 2795 in FY 2006-07 to Rs. 4060 in FY 2008-09. A major share of NREGA expenditure is as unskilled wage.

• The availability of funds with the districts during 2008-09 under NREGA was Rs 37397.06 crores, with Rs 29939.60 crores as Centre release, and Rs 4225.85 crores as Opening Balance, Rs 2686.77 crores as State share. As against this, an amount of Rs 27250.10 crores has been utilised which constitute 73% of the funds available.

Please click the following links for further details:

Employment Generated During The financial Year 2010-2011

Employment Generated during the Year 2010-2011 -

Average wage paid pattern during the financial year 2010-2011-

WORK STATUS: Completed Works-

Suspended Works As on 20-9-2010

SC/ST persons engaged in work category irrigation facilities to SC/ST BPL Families

Gehlot may give in to sarpanches' demands by Anindo Dey,
The Times of India, 10 September, 2010,

Job scheme fails rural test in UP, finds panel, The Indian Express, 9 September, 2010,

NREGS: CAG detects machines not men, The Express Buzz, 6 September, 2010,

4 district collectors misused NREGA fund for buying computers by Anindo Dey, The Times of India, 23 August, 2010,

Five heady years of MGNREGA by Himanshu,

Social audits lead to action against corrupt officials,

Social Audit of NREGS in Araria reveals corruption,

Rajasthan village uses touch screen to find jobs, Associated Press, 23 September, 2010,

NREGA gets 'smart' by Arvind Mayaram, The Financial Express, 24 September, 2010,   

Price Index to be linked with NREGA wages by Amit Agnihotri, 21 September, The Asian Age,


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