The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) he MGNREGA provides a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage. is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments.
It also aims at addressing causes of chronic poverty through the works (projects) that are undertaken, and thus ensuring sustainable development. Further, there is an emphasis on strengthening the process of decentralisation through giving a significant role to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in planning and implementing these works.
- Legal right to work: Unlike earlier employment guarantee schemes, the Act provides a legal right to employment for adult members of rural households. At least one third beneficiaries have to be women. Wages must be paid according to the wages specified for agricultural labourers in the state under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, unless the central government notifies a wage rate.
- Time bound guarantee of work and unemployment allowance: Employment must be provided with 15 days of being demanded failing which an unemployment allowance must be given.
- Decentralised planning: Gram sabhas must recommend the works that are to be undertaken and at least 50% of the works must be executed by them. PRIs are primarily responsible for planning, implementation and monitoring of the works that are undertaken.
- Work site facilities: All work sites should have facilities such as crèches, drinking water and first aid.
- Transparency and accountability: There are provisions for proactive disclosure through wall writings, citizen information boards, Management Information Systems and social audits. Social audits are conducted by gram sabhas to enable the community to monitor the implementation of the scheme.
- Funding: Funding is shared between the centre and the states. There are three major items of expenditure – wages (for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labour), material and administrative costs. The central government bears 100% of the cost of unskilled labour, 75% of the cost of semi-skilled and skilled labour, 75% of the cost of materials and 6% of the administrative costs.
Extension of MGNREGA Due to COVID-19
The government is weighing an extension of the rural employment guarantee scheme to cover workers in cities and urban areas who have been rendered jobless amid the coronavirus pandemic. The program, when approved, may be rolled out in smaller cities and initially cost about 350 billion rupees ($4.8 billion). The urban version of the plan will soften the blow on citizens most affected by the coronavirus fallout, which has set Asia’s third-largest economy on course for its deepest contraction in history. The idea is to start with smaller towns because big-city projects typically need professional expertise.