Government forms panel to look into MGNREGA’s efficacy


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: MGNREGA

Mains level: Read the attached story


The Central government has constituted a panel to review the implementation and assess efficacy as a poverty alleviation tool of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.

About the review committee

  • The committee is headed by former Rural Development secretary Amarjeet Sinha.
  • It had its first meeting on November 21, 2022, and has been given three months to submit its suggestions.
  • It is tasked to study the various factors behind demand for MGNREGA work, expenditure trends and inter-State variations, and the composition of work.
  • It will suggest what changes in focus and governance structures are required to make MGNREGA more effective.

What is MGNREGA?

  • 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 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 is MGNREGS under fire these days?

  • Not enough work: Bihar despite its levels of poverty, does not generate enough work to make a concrete difference, and on the other end of spectrum we have Kerala which is economically better but has been utilising it for asset creation.
  • No asset creation: There is a lack of tangible asset creation. The committee will study if the composition of work taken up presently under the scheme should be changed.

Issues in implementation

  • Insufficient budgetary allocations: Increase in the nominal budget but actual budget (after adjusting inflation) decreased over the years.
  • Approved Labour Budget Constraints: The Centre through the arbitrary “Approved Labour Budget” has reduced the number of days of work and put a cap on funds through the National Electronic Fund Management System
  • Not so attractive wages rate: Currently, MGNREGA wage rates of 17 states are less than the corresponding state minimum wages.
  • Delay in wage payments: Under the MGNREGA, a worker is entitled to get his or her due wages within a fortnight of completion of work, failing which the worker is entitled to the compensation.
  • No-work situations are rising: None of the states was able to provide full 100 days employment as mentioned in the scheme.
  • Data manipulations by authorities: A recent study has found that data manipulation in the MGNREGA is leading to gross violations in its implementation.
  • Non-purposive spending and corruptions: Many works sanctioned under MGNREGA often seem to be non-purposive. Quite often, they are politically motivated hotspots to create rampant corruption.
  • Centralization weakening local governance: A real-time MIS-based implementation and a centralised payment system has further left the representatives of the Panchayati Raj Institutions with literally no role in implementation.


  • Large scale social security programmes like MGNREA are subjected to undergo several stumbling blocks in the times of ongoing pandemic.
  • Government and NGOs must study the impact of MGNREGA in rural areas so as to ensure that this massive anti-poverty scheme is not getting diluted from its actual path.
  • We must view MGNREGA as an opportunity and explicitly include it in a broad-based strategy to tackle any socie-economic crisis.


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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