Swaraj Abhiyan has filed a Public Interest Litigation in Supreme Court concerning the violation of various provisions of the MGREGA.
What is MGNREGA?
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is a employment guarantee act
- It was introduced in 2005 through the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005.
- In 2010, NREGA renamed as MGNREGA
To enhance livelihood security of household in rural areas of India
- To provide guaranteed 100 days of wage employment per year to each rural household
- Creation of durable rural assets
- Social inclusion of women, SCs and STs
- Strengthen the Panchayati Raj Institutions
- The Act currently covers all districts with the exception of those that have a 100% urban population.
- Demand driven scheme: Worker to be hired when he demands and not when the Government wants it.
- Gram Panchayat is mandated to provide employment with 15 days of work application, failing which worker is entitled to unemployment allowance
- Payment of wages within 15 days of competition of work, failing which worker is entitled to delay compensation of 0.05%/ day of wages earned
- Minimum one-third of the workers should be women
- Wages to be paid according to the Minimum Wages Act 1948 for agricultural labourers in the State
- Social Audit to be done by Gram Sabha
- Direct Benefit Transfer: Wages are electronically transferred to the worker’s bank/ post office accounts through National Electronic Fund Management System (NeFMS)
- GeoMGNREGA: Geo-tagging all assets created under MGNREGA
- MGNREGA has been a powerful instrument for empowerment of poor women through its effect on livelihood security and social protection. In FY2015-16 out of the total employment through MGNREGA, 56% was generated for women.
- Reduced distressed rural to urban migration and also seasonal migration by providing work closer to home and decent working conditions.
- Has helped in the upliftment of SCs and STs through creation of livelihood opportunities. The percentage of Scheduled Caste workers has consistently been about 20% and Scheduled Tribe workers has been about 17%
- Sustainable assets have been created linked to conservation of natural resources and has helped in overall development of Gram Panchayats.
- Payment of wages through bank accounts/ post office has led to large financial inclusion of the poor.
- The average daily wage rate of farm workers has grown sharply after MGNREGA
- Insufficient budget allocation:
- Increase in nominal budget but actual budget (after adjusting inflation) decreased over years
- Though allocated 55,000 crore, the actual value of budget allocation of 2018-19 is much lower than that of 2010-11
- In 2018, Rs 7,000 crore has been allocated from “Extra Budgetary Resources (EBR)”. Annual outlay remains same as 2017-18
- Shift to Supply-driven programme:
- State submits Labour Budget to the Centre- A labour budget contains anticipated labour demand for the next financial year.
- 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
- According to Ne-FMS guidelines, states won’t be allowed to generate employment above the limits agreed by Approved labour Budget
- This has made the programme supply-driven
- Poor wages rate:
- Stagnation of wage rate due to delinking MGNREGA wage rates from Minimum Wages Act, 1948
- MGNREGA wages are lower than minimum wages in most states
- This could push marginalized section to take up vulnerable and hazardous jobs
- Delay in wage payments:
- Delayed payments increased from 39% in 2012-13 to 73% in 2014-15
- 32% of payments in first 2quarters of FY17-18 were on time
- As of 2016-17, total amount of wage pending is Rs. 11000 crore
- In current financial year, 25% of Funds Transfer Order (FTOs) pertaining to wage payment from January to April is pending to be processed by Centre
- Non-payment of unemployment allowance
- Partial compensation for delayed payment
- Distortion in labour market
- Fabrication of job cards: Payments to fictitious workers
- Infrequent social audits
- Ineffective grievance redressal
- Insufficient involvement of Panchayati Raj institutions
- Large number of incomplete work
- Poor quality of assets created
Measures to be taken:
- Proper and timely allocation of funds
- Ensuring minimum wages for workers
- Effective monitoring of projects
- Ensuring employment to rural households as per demand for work.
- Proper job card verification
- Ensuring efficient grievance redressal mechanism