Focus: GS-II Social Justice
- The role of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is a lifeline for the working poor in rural India.
- With an average 23 days of work and a daily wage of ₹200, households who got work earned an average of ₹1,500 a month.
- Even though this is meagre, it shows the potential of MGNREGA to bring work and relief, provided it is further expanded.
- With the return of migrant workers to their home States and with substantial numbers having completed the quarantine period, the demand for work is bound to increase.
Work provided to few
- According to figures available on the Ministry’s website, in this fiscal year, more than 8 crore workers demanded work, but work was provided only to 6.25 crore workers.
- In U.P., over one crore workers had applied for work under MGNREGA, but more than one third of them were turned back.
- In spite of a legal provision of unemployment allowance not a single rupee in compensation has been paid.
- During the rainy season even though demand is high, work provision is low.
- It is therefore essential for the Central government to ensure that States are provided with the funds to pay unemployment allowance to all workers demanding work.
PMGKRA New Scheme’s Concerns
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan, to provide work to migrant workers in 116 selected districts, while there is an existing need to strengthen MGNREGA, there are a few concerns raised:
- The criteria for selection in the view that some states already had a poor record of implementation of MGNREGA.
- In the list of 25 kinds of work available under Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan – most of them are already covered under the convergence programmes of MGNREGA.
- No clarification regarding how the new scheme impact the MGNREGA work in these selected districts.
Potential for MGNREGA
- MGNREGA should not be diluted in the name of the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan.
- The potential for MGNREGA to provide relief to the suffering of rural India should be utilised to its fullest capacity.
- This will also require a removal of the restriction of only one person per household to make every individual eligible.
- Unemployment allowance should be guaranteed for all those turned away from work.
-Source: The Hindu