Decentralise MGNREGS for better implementation: Govt. Study


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: MGNREGS

Mains level: Read the attached story

An internal study commissioned by the Ministry of Rural Development has argued for decentralization of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), allowing for more “flexibility” at the ground level.

Key recommendations to revamp MGNREGS

  • Work diversification: There should be a greater diversification of permissible works instead of listing the types of permissible works.
  • Broad categories of works may be listed out.
  • Flexibility should be given at ground level to select the type of works as per broad categories.

What is MGNREGS?

  • The MGNREGA stands for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 2005.
  • This is labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the Right to Work’.
  • The act was first proposed in 1991 by P.V. Narasimha Rao.

What is so unique about it?

  • MGNREGA is unique in not only ensuring at least 100 days of employment to the willing unskilled workers, but also in ensuring an enforceable commitment on the implementing machinery i.e., the State Governments, and providing a bargaining power to the labourers.
  • The failure of provision for employment within 15 days of the receipt of job application from a prospective household will result in the payment of unemployment allowance to the job seekers.
  • Any Indian citizen above the age of 18 years who resides in rural India can apply for the NREGA scheme. The applicant should have volunteered to do unskilled work.
  • Employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant’s residence, and minimum wages are to be paid.
  • Thus, employment under MGNREGA is a legal entitlement.

Why imbibe some changes?

(1) Empowering Gram Sabhas

  • The fund management has been centralised instead of paying the Gram Sabhas.
  • The Gram Sabhas could better decide the work they want to undertake.
  • The Sabhas can take into account the local conditions and the community’s requirement instead of chasing a target set for them.

(2) Prevent delays in fund disbursal

  • The internal study also flagged the frequent delay in fund disbursal, and to deal with it suggested a revolving fund that can be utilised whenever there is a delay in the Central funds.
  • The survey quoted various instances to underline this chronic problem.

(3) Prevent delay in wages

  • In Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the delay in wages was by three or four months and the material component by six months.
  • The study also noted that the MGNREGS wages were far below the market rate in many States, defeating the purpose of acting as a safety net.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Among the following who are eligible to benefit from the “Mahatma Gandhi national rural employment guarantee act”?

(a) Adult members of only the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe households.

(b) Adult members of below poverty line (BPL) households.

(c) Adult members of households of all backward communities.

(d) Adult members of any household.

Post your answers here.
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