About the Programme
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005, guarantees 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.
- In addition to this, there is a provision for upto additional 50 days of unskilled wage employment in a financial year in drought/natural calamity notified rural areas. The State Governments may make provision for providing additional days beyond the period guaranteed under the Act from their own funds.
- 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 Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) was initiated as directed in MGNREGA to implement the mandate of the Act.
- The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) is monitoring the entire implementation of the MGNREGS in association with state governments.
Key Features of the Scheme
- Every rural household has the right to register under MGNREGA.
- 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).
- While 60 per cent of the total expenditure has to be on wage, 40 per cent spending has to be on the creation of material assets.
- 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 number of families availing the benefit of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) continues to fall post the Covid-19 pandemic, with 6.19 crore households availing of the rural job programme during the 2022-23 financial year compared to 7.25 crore in 2021-22 and 7.55 crore in 2020-21.
- However, the demand for work under NREGS is still higher than its pre-Covid levels when the number of families who availed of the scheme stood at 5.48 crore in 2019-20 and 5.27 crore in 2018-19.
- NREGS was launched in the 200 most-backward rural districts of the country in 2006-07 and was extended to an additional 130 districts during 2007-08; and to the entire country from 2008-09.
- The scheme saw a spike in demand for work during 2020-21 when a record 7.55-crore rural families availed of its benefit in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
- In fact, the scheme became a safety net for migrants who returned to their villages during the pandemic-induced lockdown in 2020. However, since 2020-21, the figure has been declining — 7.25 crore in 2021-22 and 6.19 crore in 2022-23.