Why in news?
Around 83 per cent of the job card holders of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) surveyed in Karnataka have complained that their wages were delayed or pending, a latest report showed.
- While 43 per cent of rural households in Karnataka had an active job card under MGNREGS, only 9 per cent were unable to submit their applications for employment, says the study conducted by Dalberg Advisors and titled ‘The State of Rural Employment: A look at MGNREGS across five states in the country’.
- Together, these five states were surveyed—Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh account for more than 35 per cent of active MGNREGS workers in the country, and in 2020-21 accounted for more than one-third of all employment provided within the scheme.
What are the problems plaguing the MGNERGA?
- Low wage rate: The ridiculously low wage rates have resulted in lack of interest among workers in working for MGNREGA schemes, making way for contractors and middle men to take control, locally.
- Insufficient budget allocation: Almost every year, more than 80 per cent of funds get exhausted within the first six months.
- Regular payment delays: The Union Ministry of Rural Development considers wages paid once the FTO (Fund Transfer Order) is signed by the second signatory. However, delays take place even in the processing of signed FTOs, for which the Management Information System (MIS) does not calculate compensation.
- Faulty MIS data: The increase in corruption and weakening accountability has roots in the excessive dependence of implementation of MGNREGA on technology (real-time MIS being one of them).
- Non-payment of unemployment allowance: There are a huge number of unemployment allowances being shown in the MIS currently.
- Genuine job cards being deleted to meet 100% DBT targets: Genuine job cards are being randomly deleted as there is a huge administrative pressure to meet 100 per cent Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) implementation targets in MGNREGA.
- Too much centralisation 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, monitoring and grievance redress of MGNREGA schemes.
- Administration not honouring local priorities: MGNREGA could be a tool to establish decentralised governance. But, with the administration almost dictating its implementation, it is literally a burden now for the people and especially for the local elected representatives.
What is MGNERGA ?
- It is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’.
- It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to at least one member of every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work
- Women are guaranteed one third of the jobs made available under the MGNREGA
- Employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant’s residence, and minimum wages are to be paid. If work is not provided within 15 days of applying, applicants are entitled to an unemployment allowance.
- Employment under MGNREGA is a legal entitlement.
- The act was first proposed in 1991 by P.V. Narasimha Rao.