Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act:
The MNREGA Act 2005 is a social scheme launched by the Government of India, in an attempt to provide livelihood and employment opportunities to laborers across India. The scheme was implemented after passing the NREGA as a labour law. The scheme was started in the year 2006 across 200 districts and by 2008 it had covered the entire country providing jobs to unskilled laborers.
The MNREGA Scheme is designed to create rural employment and provide a minimum 100 days of work to unskilled labours. The scheme requires laborers to register under BPL and also requires job cards issued by the Village Panchayat. The Gram Panchayat issues Job Cards to every registered household. This is a critical legal document, which also helps ensure transparency and protect against frauds.
The Job Card is issued immediately after verification, i.e. within a fortnight of the application for registration. After 15 days of registration, the applicant becomes eligible for an unemployment allowance and thereafter jobs are provided.
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Objective of the MNREGA Act:
MNREGA is a social security scheme launched by the Government of India and benefits the unskilled laborers in rural India. Below mentioned are the main objectives of the MNREGA scheme:
- The MNREGA provides guaranteed jobs for one hundred days of employment in each financial year, to adult members of any BPL household.
- Create jobs and employment opportunities in rural areas, where jobs are limited and provide jobs to the unskilled or manual workers.
- MNREGA aims to provide schemes which offer job opportunities to adults of a family at a minimum payout of Rs 120 a day. This also establishes a minimum pay scale/ wage rate in rural areas.
- One of the main objectives of MNREGA is to create assets for the poor villagers by better connectivity and developing basic livelihood resource base of the rural poor.
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MNREGA Goals and Achievements:
Outlined below are some of the major achievements of the MNREGA scheme:
- Provides safety and job security by creating jobs in rural areas during off season (non-harvesting seasons) when other alternative sources are scare to help unskilled labourers remain employed throughout the year.
- With the assurance of jobs, MNREGA also changes the scenario of unemployment, health and poverty in rural areas. There has been a reduction of undernourished children in rural areas as well as health conditions of adults and children have improved.
- Ensuring sustainable development by developing the natural resources of land and water. This helps in creating substantial infrastructure like unpaved roads, fresh water lakes in rural areas and also increases the purchasing power of rural people.
- The MNREGA scheme provides jobs to both men and women on equal wages, thus helping bridge the wage gap between genders. As MNREGA establishes the concept of minimum wage of Rs 120, it has also helped standardize the basic wage per day of unskilled labourers in rural and semi urban areas.
- The MNREGA helps the rural poor through the process of a rights based law, thus empowering them by reforming their lives through jobs.
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Features of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act:
- The jobs are issued and supervised by the Gram Panchayat. Labourers are given job cards after due verification. The Job Card will bear the photograph of all adult members of the household willing to work under MNREGA.
- Employment will be given within 15 days of application for work; if it is not, then daily unemployment allowance is given.
- Work should ordinarily be provided within 5 km radius of the village. In case work is provided beyond 5 Kms, extra wages of 10% are allotted to meet the cost of transportation and living expenses
- Wages are to be paid according to the Minimum Wages Act 1948 for agricultural labourers in the State, unless the Centre notifies a wage rate which will not be less than Rs 60 per day. Equal wages will be provided to both men and women.
- Wages are to be paid according to piece rate or daily rate. Disbursement of wages has to be done on weekly basis and not beyond a fortnight in any case.
- At least one-third beneficiaries shall be women who have registered and requested work under the scheme.
- The shelf of projects for a village will be recommended by the Gram Sabha and approved by the Zilla Panchayat.
- Permissible works predominantly include water and soil conservation, aforestation and land development works.
- A 60:40 wage and material ratio has to be maintained. No contractors and machinery is allowed.
- The Central Government bears the 100% wage cost of unskilled manual labor and 75% of the material cost including the wages of skilled and semi-skilled workers
Coverage under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act:
The act was implemented on February 2nd 2006 and was initially launched in 200 districts. MNREGA was gradually extended to an additional 130 districts by the financial year 2007-2008. The remaining districts have also been registered under MNREGA with effect from 1st April 2008. Therefore, NREGA covers the rural areas and districts across the Nation, creating jobs and employment.
NREGA job card application form:
The NREGA application forms are available both online and offline. People who want to register themselves under this scheme can download the form or collect the form from the Panchayat Office/ Block Development Office. The applicant must submit the duly filled form along with the supporting documents to respective Panchayat Offices. The form is simple and requires the following details:
- Registration number: generally assigned by Panchayat Office.
- Name/ age/ sex of the applicant.
- Name of village.
- Name of Gram Panchayat.
- Name of block.
- SC/ST/IYR/ LR Beneficiary.
- Passport sized photographs.
- Thumb impression/ signature
NREGA payment process:
Previously, the labourers had to wait for months to receive wages after completion of the MNREGA work. There used to be long delays in payment processes, resulting in chaos and creation of less number of jobs.
A crucial step was taken recently by the NDA government pertaining to payouts related to MNREGA. The labourers were encouraged to open zero balance accounts under PMJDY. With this initiative, the government is now able to pay laborers directly by transferring the money into their accounts after the completion of the work. These helps in reducing delays in payment, nurture banking habits among the rural unskilled workers as well as reduce corruption by providing the benefits directly to the beneficiary.
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