A majority of India’s population lives below the poverty line, and such individuals do not have sufficient funds to provide for the necessities of their life. The Government, therefore, introduces different types of social welfare schemes for the benefit of low-income group individuals.

One such social security measure, introduced in 2005, was the NREGA.

NREGA full form is National Rural Employment Guarantee Act which is an Act passed in 2005, and the scheme was launched in 2006 when it was renamed MGNREGA. The MGNREGA full form is Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

Since its inception, the MGNREGA scheme has become the largest social security scheme in the world.

What is Mahatma Gandhi NREGA or MGNREGA?

The NREGA scheme is one wherein minimum employment is guaranteed to India's rural population. The scheme aims to provide poor individuals with a chance to work and earn a livelihood to provide the necessities to their families. 

Under the NREGA scheme, a minimum of 100 days of paid work should be provided to every rural household in 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 their work.

How Does the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA Work?

Under MGNREGS, 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 to earn 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.

Objective of the NREGA Scheme

  • Every household with adult members who volunteer to do unskilled physical labour will receive at least 100 days of work.
  • It attempts to create productive assets and increase the poor’s livelihood resource base.
  • Proactively promoting social inclusion
  • Panchayat Raj Institutional Strengthening

Eligibility Criteria for NREGA Scheme

MNREGA stands applicable to rural areas of all the Indian states. Its administration is in the hands of the central government. The eligibility criteria NREGA scheme is as follows-

  • Must be an Indian citizen to avail of benefits offered by NREGA
  • Job seekers should have completed 18 years of age at the application time
  • NREGA applicant should be part of a local household (this means the application must be made with the Local Gram Panchayat)
  • The applicant should be ready to volunteer for unskilled labour

Entitlements to Eligible Rural Individuals

Under the NREGA Act, eligible individuals in 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 –

  • Entitlement I – Right to a Job Card
  • Entitlement II – Right to Demand and Receive Work within 15 Days
  • Entitlement III – Right to Unemployment Allowance
  • Entitlement IV – Right to Plan and Prepare a Shelf of Projects
  • Entitlement V – Right to Obtain Work Within a Radius of 5 Kms.
  • Entitlement VI – Right to Worksite Facilities
  • Entitlement VII – Right to Notified Wage Rate
  • Entitlement VIII – Right to Receive Wages Within 15 Days
  • Entitlement IX – Right to Time-Bound Redress of Grievance and the Right to Conduct Concurrent Social Audits of all MGNREGA expenses

Coverage under the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA

The MGNREGA scheme covers a wide range of activities under which individuals can seek employment. The Union Rural Development Ministry specifies these activities and includes the following –

  • Agricultural and allied activities
  • Rural sanitation projects
  • Watershed works
  • Irrigation and Flood management works
  • Livestock related works
  • Fisheries and coastal areas related works
  • Rural drinking water projects
  • Construction of Anganwadi Centres, etc.

What is NREGA Job Card

A NREGA Job Card (NREGA JC) is a document identifying a person registered with the local Gram Panchayat under the NREGA scheme.

It is a kind of identity card consisting of information about NREGA registration numbers, details of applicants, and more.

The NREGA job card, a documentary proof of a person's entitlements, permits individuals residing in rural households to apply for work with the local Gram Panchayat.

This card acts as proof and can be easily used at Bank/Post Offices for KYC, which is essential for opening bank accounts.

How to Apply for MGNREGA Job Card

Adults, i.e. individuals aged 18 years and above, can apply for the NREGA card by registering under the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA Yojana.

Registration must be done in a prescribed format or on plain paper. Registration applications should be submitted to the Gram Panchayat of the rural area anytime during the year.

For application, a specific list of documents will be required. They are-

  • Photograph of the Applicant
  • Name, Age and Gender of all NREGA Job Card Applicants from the household
  • Village's Name
  • Gram Panchayat's Name
  • Block's Name
  • Details of whether the applicant(s) is/are beneficiaries of SC/ST/IAY/LR
  • Signature/Thumb Impression of the Applicant

Once registered, the Gram Panchayat will verify the following details –

  • Whether the applicant’s household is a real household, as mentioned in the application form
  • Whether the household and the applicant are local residents of the Gram Panchayat
  • Whether the applicant is an adult member, i.e. aged 18 years and above

- This verification should be done within 15 days of submission of the application. Once the verification is complete, the Gram Panchayat will 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.

Registration and Verification under NREGA Scheme

Usually, the Gram panchayat informs the NREGA applicants via a letter of public notice once they have been assigned some work. In case the applicant has shared his/her mobile number, they will be intimated via an SMS from the Gram Panchayat.

The government will appoint a Program Officer who will be responsible for supervising the employment process and gathering data about the applications made and the number of individuals appointed/not-appointed with Gram Panchayat.

If an individual does not receive any work with a particular Gram Panchayat, the work can be searched with the neighbouring Gram Panchayat.

NREGA Payment Process

Once the wage calculations are done, the principal step would be to transfer wages to the Job Cardholder's bank account.


  • If the MGNREGA applicant does not have a bank account, they can easily open one with the help of NREGA Job Card.
  • In some instances, the respective Gram Panchayat can make the payments in cash. Such an event may occur when there is less penetration of banks/post offices in a particular area.
  • Cash-based NREGA payments are permitted with approval from the Ministry and State Governments.

Also, note that the NREGA wages paid are the same irrespective of gender.

How to Check NREGA Account Balance

There is no specific method to check the NREGA account balance online. Nevertheless, the NREGA Job Card consists of particular details that can be used to check the NREGA payout for a specific period.

Since this card has all the updates about the number of days the person was employed and the respective fixed wages, it is easy to verify the balance from here. By using the details from the NREGA daily wage by State List, it becomes simplified to check the NREGA account balance, even for future payouts.

Benefits of the MGNREGA Scheme

Some of the main benefits of the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA scheme are as follows–

  • The scheme allows the poor population of India to earn a minimum income by providing their services.
  • The scheme aims to alleviate the problem of unemployment, especially in the rural sector, by providing people with a minimum guarantee of 100 days of work in a year.
  • Poor people can use the scheme to alleviate their poverty and lead everyday life.
  • The MGNREGA scheme includes women and SC/ST individuals under its scope too. This makes the scheme inclusive, allowing even women and low-caste individuals a chance to earn a living.
  • The wages under the scheme are usually done through Direct Bank Transfers (DBTs). This has promoted opening bank accounts in the rural sector and allowed such individuals access to banking facilities.
  • The scheme promises an unemployment allowance if the NREGA cardholders are not provided minimum work for 100 days. This ensures that even if the cardholders do not get the entitled job, they would not be cheated out of an income.
  • The scheme provides employment opportunities to eligible individuals within a 5km radius of their location. If the work is far-off, workers are allowed extra wages for the extra commute.
  • Wages are paid within 15 days of completion of the work, ensuring that individuals can access funds to meet their livelihood expenses.

National Rural Employment Guarantee Act App

By using MGNREGA App, the registered users can get access to check details about the scheme in their Gram Panchayat.

Information, as listed below, can be found through the app.

  • Details about work for every Gram Panchayat in India
  • Total pay-out made to each Gram Panchayat (by the government)
  • Work details undertaken by the MGNREGA scheme
  • New scheme's details

Rozgar Diwas 

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.

Explore Related Calculators

APY Calculator

PPF Calculator

NSC Calculator

EPF Calculator

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana Calculator

NPS Calculator

Invest the way you want
Join millions of Indians who trust and love Groww
ⓒ 2016-2023 Groww. All rights reserved, Built with in India