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 Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and others from this financial year 2021.
GS-II: Social Justice (Health and Poverty related issues, Government Interventions and Policies, Issues arising out of the design and implementation of Government Policies)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
- About the recent order to split MGNREGA wages
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, MGNREGA, is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’. This act was passed in September 2005.
- It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
- It covers all districts of India except the ones with 100% urban population.
- MGNREGA is to be implemented mainly by gram panchayats (GPs). The involvement of contractors is banned.
- Apart from providing economic security and creating rural assets, NREGA can help in protecting the environment, empowering rural women, reducing rural-urban migration and fostering social equity, among others.
How MGNREGA came to be?
- In 1991, the P.V Narashima Rao government proposed a pilot scheme for generating employment in rural areas with the following goals:
- Employment Generation for agricultural labour during the lean season.
- Infrastructure Development
- Enhanced Food Security
- This scheme was called the Employment Assurance Scheme which later evolved into the MGNREGA after the merger with the Food for Work Programme in the early 2000s.
Features of MGNREGA
- It gives a significant amount of control to the Gram Panchayats for managing public works, strengthening Panchayati Raj Institutions.
- Gram Sabhas are free to accept or reject recommendations from Intermediate and District Panchayats.
- It incorporates accountability in its operational guidelines and ensures compliance and transparency at all levels.
Objectives of MGNREGA
- Provide 100 days of guaranteed wage employment to rural unskilled labour
- Increase economic security
- Decrease migration of labour from rural to urban areas
About the recent order to split MGNREGA wages
- 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 Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and others from this financial year.
- Separate budget heads shall also be provided by the Government for SC and ST categories.
- Funds shall be allocated according to job cards provided for SC and ST beneficiaries.
- States were asked to verify if job cards for SC and ST beneficiaries were being properly allocated at the field level.
- There is some inbuilt positive discrimination in the scheme, reflected in the fact that more than 50% of workers are women and almost 40% are SC/ST.
Issues with the order
- This will unnecessarily complicate the payment system,
- It may also lead to a reduction in scheme funding.
-Source: The Hindu