Title : THE MGNREGA SCHEME: More fund demanded
Date : Nov 26, 2021
Topic à Government Policies and Interventions
- The MGNREGA, the government's major rural employment scheme, has ran out of money halfway through the fiscal year. This means that payments to MGNREGA workers and material expenditures will be delayed unless states use their own finances.
- Previously, the government implemented a category-based wage payment system for SC, ST, and others, which will take effect in the current fiscal year (2021-22), in order to appropriately reflect the flow of funds to various demographic groups on the ground.
- About the MGNREGA Scheme:
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, formerly known as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, was passed in 2005 with the goal of increasing employment and social security in India.
- The scheme, which is run by the Ministry of Rural Development, is a demand-driven pay employment scheme.
- Every adult household member having a job card in a rural area is eligible for a job under the scheme.
- Adult member volunteers for unskilled manual work will receive 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year under the scheme.
- Except for districts having a 100% urban population, it covers all of India's districts.
- There is also a provision for an additional 50 days of unskilled wage work in rural regions that have been notified of a drought or natural disaster.
- Section 3(4) of the MGNREGA allows states to make provisions from their own finances to provide additional days beyond the period stipulated by the Act.
- Wage Rates That Are Absurdly Low:
- At least 17 of the 21 major states' MNREGA wage rates are currently lower than the state minimum wage for agriculture. The gap is between 23% and 33% of the minimum wage.
- According to data from the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), the average daily wage for general agricultural labourers in 2017 was Rs. 264.05 for males and Rs. 205.32 for women.
- Workers have lost interest in working for MGNREGA projects as a result of the extremely low wage rates, allowing contractors and middlemen to seize control locally.
- State governments are unable to meet the demand for MGNREGA jobs due to a shortage of money.
- Most states have failed to pay wages within 15 days, as required by the MGNREGA. Furthermore, workers are not rewarded if their salaries are not paid on time.
- As a result, the system has become a supply-driven programme, and workers have begun to lose interest in working under it.
- The Supreme Court called pending MGNREGA wage payments as "a blatant constitutional infringement perpetrated by the State" and "a modern type of beggar" in a 2016 ruling.
- PRI's Ineffective Role: Due to their lack of autonomy, gramme panchayats are unable to implement the act effectively and efficiently.
- Large Number of Unfinished Projects:
- There has been a delay in the completion of MGNREGA projects, and project inspections have been irregular. Under MGNREGA, there is also a problem with work quality and asset development.
- There are various concerns associated to the existence of phoney work cards, including the inclusion of bogus names, missing entries, and delays in making job card entries.
- The Government Must Ensure Work Is Available: Regardless of demand, the government must ensure that work is provided.
- The government should expand the programme, focusing on value addition and increasing the number of community asset projects.
- Strengthening the Scheme:
- Better coordination between various government ministries, as well as the process for allocating and measuring work, is required.
- This is one of the most successful charity programmes in recent years, and it has aided the impoverished in rural areas. Government officials, on the other hand, must take the initiative to implement the strategy and must not obstruct it.
- There are some disparities in compensation between men and women that must be addressed. On average, women in the sector earn 22.24 percent less than their male counterparts.
- Source à The Hindu à 26/11/21 à Page 1
Tags : employment schemes, rural employment, employment gurantee