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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 02 November, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

Decentralising MGNREGS

Decentralising MGNREGS

The decentralisation of MGNREGS has recently been recommended by an internal study that the Ministry of Rural Development had commissioned.

Significant findings of the study

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) should be decentralised, according to the study, as this will give local officials more "flexibility."

•It was the sixth Common Review Mission's report.

•The report examined Jammu and Kashmir's Union Territory as well as seven States, including Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Nagaland, Gujarat, Jharkhand, and Himachal Pradesh.

•The goal of the report was to evaluate how well all rural development programmes, including the MGNREGS, were being implemented.

Problem:

Centralised fund management: In recent years, instead of paying gramme sabhas an advance, fund management has been centralised.

Delays in fund disbursement: The internal study also identified frequent delays in fund disbursement.

Wages below market rate: According to the study, MGNREGS wages were far below the market rate in many states, defeating the purpose of acting as a safety net. As an example,

A farm laborer's minimum wage in Gujarat is currently Rs324.20, but the MGNREGS wage is Rs229.

In Nagaland, the daily wage is Rs 212, which does not account for the difficult terrain conditions.

Recommendations:

Diversification of permissible works: According to the study, rather than listing the types of permissible works, there should be a greater diversity of permissible works.

The broad categories of works may be listed, and flexibility at the ground level should be provided to select the type of works based on the broad categories.

Advance payments to gram sabhas:

•Paying the gram sabhas in advance allows them to choose the work they want to do.

•Instead of chasing a target set for them, gram sabhas can take into account local conditions and community needs.

•To address the frequent delays in fund disbursement, the report proposed a"revolving fund that can be used whenever there is a delay in the Central funds."

Non-Purposive Spending:

While MGNREGA has increased rural people's earning capacity, their spending habits are important because there is little savings from their wages.

Suggestions and future plans

Social audits: There is a need to conduct social audits in accordance with the rules and to effectively implement the delay compensation system.

Fund utilisation: The reasons for poor fund utilisation should be investigated, and steps should be taken to improve them. In addition, actions should be taken against officers who are found to have misappropriated funds.

Raising awareness: Women's and lower-income people's participation must be increased by raising awareness and making it more inclusive.

About MGNREGS

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (Mahatma Gandhi NREGS) is a wage employment scheme based on demand.

Aim: To provide at least 100 days of unskilled manual labour as guaranteed employment to every rural household in a fiscal year, resulting in the creation of productive assets of prescribed quality and durability.

Features:

Legal Work Permit: Adult members of rural households have a legal right to work under the Act.

Women: At least one-third of the beneficiaries must be female.

Time-Bound Work Guarantee: Work must be provided within 15 days of being demanded, failing which a 'unemployment allowance' must be provided.

Decentralized Planning: Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) are primarily responsible for work planning, implementation, and monitoring.

Gram Sabhas must recommend the projects to be undertaken and must carry out at least 50% of the work.

Transparency and accountability are addressed through provisions such as wall writings, Citizen Information Boards, Management Information Systems, and social audits (conducted by Gram Sabhas)

Source: The Hindu


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