, and will not be eligible for further benefits under the rural employment guarantee scheme for the rest of the year. Another seven lakh households have completed 80 days and are on the verge of running out of work as well, according to the scheme’s database.t least 1.4 lakh poor rural households have already completed their quota of 100 days of work under MGNREGA in the first three months of the year
With COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown resulting in thousands of unemployed migrant workers returning to their villages and now dependent on MGNREGA wages, activists are urging the government to increase the limit to at least 200 days per household. The MGNREGA scheme contains a provision for districts affected by drought or other natural disaster to request an expansion of the scheme to allow for 150 days of work per household. Given that COVID-19 was declared a national disaster, activists have demanded that this provision be implemented immediately across the country. Overall, 23 lakh households have already completed 60 days of work.
The NREGA Sangharsh Morcha argues that the limit should be imposed per adult individual rather than per household, and has demanded an increase to 200 days per individual at a daily wage rate of ₹600. MGNREGA is the largest social security scheme in the world, guaranteeing 100 days of unskilled manual work to all rural households in India. The MGNREG Act actually gives rural households the right to work, making it obligatory for the State to give them work on demand.
The work is usually on projects to build durable assets like roads, canals, ponds and wells. In reality, there are quite a lot of rules on how the money may be spent. The Act stipulates a minimum wage-material ratio of 60:40. The scheme is inclusive, with higher participation of women and SC and ST individuals. Today, about one in two jobs created under the scheme is for women and about 40% for SC/ST. For many women, it is a first-time earning opportunity as well as a chance at empowerment.
[Payments under the scheme today are mostly by way of direct transfer into beneficiary accounts, which in turn forced people to open 10 crore new bank or post office accounts. The newly opened accounts have aided access to bank credit].