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.
Why in News?
- As per State Bank of India (SBI) research, the demand for MGNREGA work so far in the month of April has increased to 2.57 crore households, 92% higher than a year ago, and a record high for April since 2013.
- This indicates the extent of reverse migration from the lockdown States to their native States.
- The government had allocated ₹73,000 crore in this year’s Budget for the MGNREGA, nearly 34.5% lower than last year’s revised estimates of ₹1.11 lakh crore, on the assumption that the economic recovery would alleviate the need for such spending.
- The original budgeted spending for the scheme for 2020-21 was around ₹60,000 crore but was enhanced over the year as the national lockdown and large-scale reverse migration from urban employment centres to the hinterland triggered greater demand under the scheme.
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said in Parliament that the government would allocate more funds for the rural jobs scheme for 2021-22 if needed, over and above the ₹73,000 crore outlay proposed in the Budget.