About the scheme
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme is the largest social security scheme in the world — guaranteeing 100 days of work each financial year to any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage.
- The act makes it obligatory for the State to give rural households work on demand. In case such employment is not provided within 15 days of registration, the applicant becomes eligible for an unemployment allowance.
- The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments.
- One-third of the stipulated workforce must be women.
- Work site facilities such as creche, drinking water and shade have to be provided.
- The employment will be provided within a radius of 5 km: if it is above 5 km extra wage will be paid.
- The wages are revised according to the Consumer Price Index-Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL).
- A 60:40 wage and material ratio has to be maintained.
- Permissible works predominantly include water and soil conservation, afforestation and land development works.
- Work site facilities such as crèche, drinking water, shade have to be provided.
- Gram sabhas must recommend the works that are to be undertaken and at least 50% of the works must be executed by them.
- Social Audit has to be done by the Gram Sabha.
- Funding is shared between the centre and the states.
- The funding pattern of the scheme comprises 100% funding for unskilled labour cost and 75% of the material cost by Central Government and rest shall be borne by the State Government.
Why in News?
- The Union government has made capturing of attendance through its app, National Mobile Monitoring System, compulsory at worksites where 20 or more workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) are employed. This move comes despite many problems, including patchy Internet connectivity in rural areas and little or no technical support.
- The Ministry of Rural Development had started the exercise on a pilot basis on May 21 last year. Initially, the utilisation of application was to be voluntary but from May 16 this year, it has been made mandatory. The Ministry’s directive claims that the app, which requires two time-stamped and geotagged photographs of the workers in a day, encourages transparency and increases citizen oversight.
- The biggest setback after the move has been for women employees. In a majority of cases, the employees’ families are averse to giving phones to women, especially smartphones. Hence, many women have dropped out.
- There are other pitfalls that remain, primarily relating to technical glitches and minimal technical support.