A majority of India’s population lives below the poverty line and such individuals do not have sufficient funds to provide for the basic necessities of their life. The Government, therefore, introduces different types of social welfare schemes for the benefit of the low-income group individuals. One such social security measure, introduced in the year 2005, was the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). The Act was passed in 2005 and the scheme was launched in 2006 when it was renamed to Mahatma Gandhi NREGA or the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. Ever since its inception, the MGNREGA scheme has become the largest social security scheme in the world.
The NREGA scheme is one wherein minimum employment is guaranteed to the rural population of India. The scheme aims to provide poor individuals with a chance to work and earn a livelihood so that they can provide the basic necessities to their families.
Under the NREGA scheme, a minimum of 100 days of paid work should be provided to every rural household of India in one year. The MGNREGA scheme, therefore, provides rural households with the right to work and earn a living. Such households can demand work from the Government and then get paid for the work that they do.
Under MGNREGA, every rural household can register itself to avail of a NREGA Job Card. The NREGA Job Card is issued to all the adult members of a rural household who are willing to provide unskilled labour for earning a living. Once individuals have a NREGA card, they can show the card and demand work from the Government under the MGNREGA scheme. The Government would ensure a minimum of 100 workdays in a year and pay the NREGA cardholders the minimum wages for their labour.
Under the NREGA Act, eligible individuals of the rural areas, who can enrol under the MGNREGA scheme have been given legal entitlements. These entitlements ensure that such individuals get proper jobs and a minimum wage for their labour. The entitlements allowed under the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA scheme are as follows –
Adults, i.e. individuals aged 18 years and above, can apply for the NREGA card by registering under the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA scheme. Registration would have to be done in a prescribed format or on a plain piece of paper. Registration applications should be submitted to the Gram Panchayat of the rural area anytime during the year. Once registered, the Gram Panchayat would verify the following details –
This verification should be done within 14 days of submission of the application. Once the verification is complete, the Gram Panchayat would issue the NREGA card to eligible individuals. A NREGA Job Card is valid for 5 years after which it should be renewed with the Gram Panchayat.
Some of the main benefits of the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA scheme are as follows –
The MGNREGA scheme covers a wide range of activities under which individuals can seek employment. These activities are specified by the Union Rural Development Ministry and include the following –
In order to bring more individuals under the ambit of the MGNREGA scheme, it has been mandated that a Rozgar Diwas should be organised by every Gram Panchayat every month. The District Programme Coordinator should ensure that Rozgar Diwas is organized with all the necessary protocols representing at least 25% NREGA Job Cardholders in the area so that individuals can enrol under a NREGA Job Card and existing NREGA cardholders can put forward their grievances if they have any.
The MGNREGA scheme, therefore, aims to provide a source of income to the rural population so that they can access basic necessities and improve their standard of living. This is a social welfare scheme that has been benefitting the rural population ever since it was established.
When candidates are assigned work, the Gram Panchayat will notify them by letter or public notice. If the applicant has provided a mobile number, an SMS notification will be sent by the Gram Panchayat.
The Program Officer will manage the hiring process and will receive information about the applicants from the Gram Panchayat. The Gram Panchayat will provide the Program Officer with the number of people who are employed and those who are not. If an applicant has not been assigned work with a certain Gram Panchayat, the job can be sought with a neighboring Gram Panchayat. NREGASoft will help with this process.
What is the Mandate of MGNREGA?
The mandate of the MGNREGA is to give at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment to all the rural households whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work in a financial year .
What are the primary objectives of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)?
The MGNREGS core objectives are:
(a) To provide at least 100 days of unskilled manual work as guaranteed employment in a FY to every household in rural areas as per the demand
(b) To make the livelihood resource base of the poor stronger;
(c) To make sure of social inclusion and
(d) Empowering Panchayati Raj Institutions
What is the definition of Household in MGNREGA?
The term Household means the members of a family related to each other by blood, marriage or adoption and normally living together and sharing meals or holding a common ration card.
Is the Employment Guarantee Act limited to particular states or districts?
No, it is implemented in all rural districts across the country.