Central rural employment guarantee scheme was started in 2006 to provide livelihood security in rural areas by
guaranteeing at least 100 days of minimum wage employment, mostly in construction of durable assets
such as roads, canals and ponds.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), previously known as "National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act 2005" is an Indian labour law aimed to provide social security and the "right to work".
Under the act a minimum of 100 days of unskilled manual work in a financial year to every is guaranteed to every
household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
The act was proposed by P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1991 and is the largest and most ambitious social security
and public works programme in the world. The World Bank hailed the act by referring it to "stellar example of
rural development" in its
World Development Report 2014.
Another aim of MGNREGA is to create durable assets like roads, canals, ponds and wells. Under the act
employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant's residence, and minimum wages are to be paid.
Unemployment allowance is also paid to applicant if work in not provided in 15 days, making employment under
MGNREGA a legal entitlement. MGNREGA is to be implemented mainly by gram panchayats (GPs). while
the involvement of contractors is banned.
MGNREGA is useful in many areas including: economic security to rural population, creating durable assets,
environment protection, women empowerment in rural areas, reducing rural urban migration and fostering social equity.
The act is in line with "Article 41" of Indian Constitution under "Directive principal of state policy",
that directs the State to secure to all citizens the right to work.
There are around 12 crore job cards holders under the scheme where about one in two jobs created under the
scheme is for women and about 40 per cent for SC/ST. Payments under the scheme are mostly by way of direct
transfer into beneficiary accounts that made people to open 10 crore new bank or post office accounts.
MGNREGA has given rural households an opportunity to earn minimum income, yer there are administrative glitches like:
Panchayat Samitis don't meet for months resulting in work sanctioning getting delayed.