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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

03 Jun, 2021

21 Min Read

MGNREGA payment through Caste Categories

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government Schemes & Programmes

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)

  • It was started in the 10th five-year plan in 2005. It works under the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • Funding: Centrally Sponsored with the pattern 90:10.
  • Providing provides a legal guarantee of at least 100 days of unskilled manual work in rural areas.
  • Any member > 18 years (Adult members) of a rural household, willing to do unskilled manual work, may apply to the local Gram Panchayat (which will issue a Job Card). Minimum 14 days of Employment.
  • If Employment is not given within 15 days, then daily unemployment allowance is given by States.
  • Wages are to be given according to the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Minimum Wages is increased to 202 Rs. (early 175 Rs.)
  • At least 1/3rd of beneficiaries shall be women.
  • Work site facilities such as crèche, drinking water, and shade have to be provided.
  • Projects will be recommended by Gram Sabha (which does a Social audit too) and approved by the Zilla panchayat.
  • At least 50% of work will be allotted to Gram Panchayats for execution. Permissible works predominantly include water and soil conservation, afforestation and land development works.
  • 60:40 wage and the material ratio have to be maintained. No contractors and machinery are allowed.
  • Center bears 100% wage cost of unskilled manual labour and 75% of material cost including wages.
  • Grievance redressal mechanisms at State and District levels.
  • Rights-based approach. Strengthening Panchayati Raj Institutions is an objective.
  • Integration with other schemes like PMGSY, Housing for All etc. DBT for the wages.
  • Work should ordinarily be provided within a 5 km radius of the village. In case work is provided beyond 5 km, extra wages of 10% are payable to meet additional transportation and living expenses.
  • Disbursement of wages has to be done on weekly basis and not beyond a fortnight in any case.
  • All accounts and records relating to the Scheme should be available for public scrutiny.

What is the news?

  • The Centre has asked the States to split wage payments under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme into separate categories for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and others from this financial year.
  • Workers’ rights advocates said this will complicate the payment system, and expressed fears that it may lead to a reduction in scheme funding.
  • The government of India has decided to provide separate budget heads for SC and ST categories under MGNREGS from the financial year 2021-22 for wage payment.
  • The existing system for wages under the scheme is for only one type that is there is no category-wise provision of wage payment.

Source: TH

Model Tenancy Act, 2021

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Laws

Model Tenancy Act, 2021

  • A new Model Tenancy Act has been approved by the Union cabinet on June 2, 2021.
  • The main trigger for this is the 1.1 crore vacant houses that were found to be locked and empty in the 2011 census. Chances are that this number must have risen in the past 10 years.
  • This model law now has to be accepted and adopted by all the states and Union territories which will notify the law according to their state’s requirements.
  • The new tenancy law is a model Act created by the Union and each state and Union territory has to enact its own version.
  • It mandates that all tenancy agreements will be registered with the authority with a unique registration identity. The registration agreements would be uploaded on the website of the Rent Authority with such documents as it deems fit.
  • There will be special tenancy and adjudicating authorities at the district level and Rent Courts as well. This may shorten the period of the dispute. In fact, in the case of overstay, the tenant has to pay twice the rent for two months and then four times the rent for up to 6 months. This can be enforced by the Rent Authority.
  • Prospective law: The law is prospective and will address future problems. There is a specific reference to property managers who can work on behalf of the landlords and tenants. This is an interesting feature which has the potential to create a layer of services for both the landlord and the tenant. It is beyond the property brokerage services, as is prevalent today.
  • The Rent Agreement will be signed in duplicate and the landlord and tenant will retain an original copy each. Landlords are to provide receipts for rent and other payments. In the case of electronic transfers, bank slips will suffice.
  • The period of tenancy is left for agreement between the tenant and landlord. Renewal has to be within the period of tenancy. There is a three-month notice period for both tenant and landlord.
  • Subletting is allowed only with a supplementary agreement. The rent enhancement has to be on the grounds of the tenancy contract. The landlord can ask for enhanced rent for alteration, repairs or enhancement from tenants who lived before the start of the work, on mutually agreed terms.
  • The advance rent that a tenant has to pay the landlord has been capped at two months for residential and six months for commercial premises. This is to be paid back to the tenant after deductions for tenant liabilities.
  • Disputes: The Rent Authority can determine the rent in case of a dispute between landlord and tenant.
  • If the landlord refuses to accept the rent during a dispute, the tenant can send it by money order for two months, after which it can be deposited with the Rent Authority. If the tenant is unclear as to whom to pay the rent, it can be deposited with the Rent Authority to determine whom to pay it. Withdrawal of an amount equivalent to the agreed rent does not become an admission against the landlord, no matter what claims are made by the tenant.
  • Maintenance: Responsibility for maintenance of the property in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy lies with both the landlord and tenant. Repair and maintenance of common areas should be documented in the tenancy agreement. The management and maintenance of the premises during the tenancy is the tenant’s responsibility. If the tenant fails to undertake agreed repairs, the landlord can do the repairs out of the deposit amount. The tenant has to pay it back within a month of the notice issued by the landlord.
  • If the landlord defaults on repairs, the tenant can undertake those repairs and deduct them from the rent, provided it is less than 50% of the rent for any month. If the premises are uninhabitable and the landlord refuses to repair them, the tenant can vacate within 15 days of giving a written complaint to the landlord.
  • Force Majeure: If the premises become uninhabitable due to a force majeure situation, the landlord cannot charge rent till he makes it habitable. If this is not possible, rent advance and security deposit have to be refunded within 15 days of the expiry of the notice period, after deducting tenant liabilities.
  • Landlords have to give 24 hours' notice to inspect the premises or undertake repairs or for any other reason specified in the tenancy agreement. The notice has to define the reasons for entry. This entry cannot be before sunrise or after sundown. During emergency situations such as floods or fires, this condition is waived off.
  • Property Manager: There is a detailed section in the Model Act about the role of the property manager. This is new in the Indian context.
  • Essential services cannot be withheld by the landlord. This includes water, power and piped cooking gas supply, common area lighting, lifts, parking, communication and sanitary links. If he does so, the Rent Authority can give orders to restore it. However, an inquiry has to be held and concluded in a month. If the tenant’s objection is valid, the landlord may be asked to pay two months' rent as compensation for withholding essential services. If the objection is frivolous, the tenant has to pay two months' rent to the landlord as a penalty.
  • Eviction: Eviction is an important issue in restoring landlord confidence to bring vacant stock into the rental market. Eviction orders can be served by the Rent Court on the plea of a landlord if :
    1. The tenant does not pay the rent agreed in the Tenancy Agreement. The tenant does not pay the two months' rent and interest, as applicable, including service charges, within a month of serving the notice
    2. If the tenant gave away possession of part or whole of the premises without the landlord’s written consent
    3. If the tenant continues to misuse the premises even after being served a notice by the landlord
    4. If the premises have to be altered, repaired or redeveloped. Tenants can only come back if a fresh Tenancy Agreement is registered with the Rent Authority. If the landlord agrees, the tenant can be allowed to stay on part of the premises
  • Tenants can be evicted if they gave written notice of vacation after which the landlord scheduled a sale or repair of the premises or if they created a permanent structure without the landlord’s permission.
  • An eviction notice cannot be served to non-paying tenants if they paid the entire arrears and the compensation amount within a month of the notice served by the Rent Court. If the tenant defaults again within one year for two successive months, he shall not be given the relief again.
  • In case of the death of a landlord, where the legal heirs can prove the need of the premises, the tenant may be served an eviction notice by the Rent Court.
  • If the tenant fails to vacate the premises after the term of the Rent Agreement, he has to pay twice the amount per month for two months and four times the amount for the next few months.
  • When the landlord gains possession of the premises, he has to refund the advances and security deposits after deducting the rent amounts and charges due to him. Failure to do so will attract simple interest on the amount due to the tenant or at the rate that is specified from time to time.
  • During Rent Court proceedings, if the tenant contests the landlord’s claim, he will have to pay enhanced rent and other charges to the landlord till the settlement of the issue.
  • If there is a piece of land where additional development is possible for the landlord or his legal heirs, in accordance with the municipal laws, the Rent Court may order the severance of the land from the tenanted property and adjust rent accordingly. The tenant is given a month for adjustments.

Source: ToI

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