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1. Background

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act was notified in 2005. It applies to whole of India except those districts that have hundred percent urban population.  As per an amendment to the Act, the Act has been prefixed with the words, ‘Mahatma Gandhi.’ It is an Indian labor law and social security that aims to guarantee the right to work.

2. Objective of the Act

The Act provides for:
  • provision of not less than 100 days of work to every household, whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual labor.
  • It aims at creating productive assets and strengthening the livelihood resource base of the poor.
  • Proactively ensuring social inclusion
  • Strengthening Panchayat Raj institutions

3. Focus Areas of the Act

The focus of the scheme is on the following categories of works namely:
  • Public Works relating to Natural Resource Management,
  • Community or Individual Assets for Vulnerable sections,
  • Common Infrastructure and Rural Infrastructure. Some of the works in these categories include: improving productivity of land, development of waste land, promoting agriculture, water conservation, water harvesting, rural sanitation and maintenance of rural public assets.
 

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4. Features of the Act

  • The works undertaken under the Scheme shall be in the rural area and priority shall be given to woman such that at least one third of the beneficiaries shall be woman who have registered and requested for work. Every person who has done the work given to him shall be entitled to receive wages at the wage rate for each day of work.
  • The wage rate shall not be less than INR 65 per day. The payment of wages shall be on a weekly basis, and it cannot be more than a fortnight. If an applicant for employment under this Act is not provided with such employment in 15 days of receipt of his application, he shall be entitled to a Daily Unemployment Allowance.
  • As far as possible, employment shall be provided within a radius of 5km of the village where the applicant is, at the time of application.
  • Otherwise, it should be provided within the Block and the laborers should be paid 10% extra to meet the additional transportation and living expenses.
  • The workers shall be provided at their worksite with medical aid, drinking water, shade and creches, if children below the age of 5 are present at the work site.
  • It also requires proper maintenance and audit of the accounts in relation to this Scheme.
  • The State Government shall facilitate conduct of Social Audit of the works undertaken under this Act in every Gram Panchayath at least once in six months.

5. Funding the Implementation of the Act

Central Government

A fund called National Employment Guarantee Fund shall be established by the Central Government. The fund will be credited by way of grants and loans. The amount lying in the credit of the fund shall be used for the purpose of this Act. -The following activities are funded by the central government:
      • 100% wages of unskilled workers
      • 75% of the cost of materials, wages, of skilled and semi-skilled labour
      • Expenses of the central employment guarantee council
      • Administrative expenses as determined by the central government
-The liability of the Government to pay the allowance shall cease as soon as:
      • For reporting to work the applicant is directed by the Gram Panchayath or PO to report for work either by himself or depute at least one adult member of his household
      • No one turns up for work for the period for which employment is sought and the period has come to an end
      • Adult members of the household of applicant has received at least 100 days of work during the financial year.
      • Households of the applicant has earned an amount equal to 100 days of wage from the aggregate of their wages and unemployment allowance received.

State Government

Likewise, a fund shall be established by the State Government also, called State Employment Guarantee Fund. Apart from meeting the requirements of this Act, the amount in the fund shall be used for meeting administrative expenses in connection with the implementation of this Act. -The following activities are funded by the state government:
        • Unemployment wages in case the state government cannot provide wage employment on time
        • 25% of the cost of materials, wages, of skilled and semi-skilled labour
        • Expenses of the state employment guarantee council

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6. Highlights of Roles and Responsibilities of the Key Functionaries

Gram Panchayat

              • Receiving applications for registration
              • Verifying registration applications
              • Registering households
              • Issuing Job Cards (JCs)
              • Receiving applications for work
              • Issuing dated receipts for applications for work
              • Ensuring work is allocated to the applicant within 15 days of submitting the application, irrespective of the implementing agency
              • Conducting periodical surveys to assess demand for and quantum of work.

Gram Rozgar Sahayak or Employment Guarantee Assistant

              • Assisting Gram Panchayat in executing MGNREGA works at Gram Panchayat level
              • Ensuring there is no malpractice in the process of registration, distribution of job cards,etc.
              • Facilitating Gram Sabha meetings and social audits
              • Labour attendance is recorded everyday as prescribed Muster Rolls at the work site
              • Ensuring that Group mark outs are given at worksite for every groups of labourers, so that the workers know the output required to be given to earn wage rate every day;
              • Ensuring worksite facilities and updating job cards of the workers regularly
              • Maintaining all MGNREGS-related registers at the Gram Panchayat level

Mates

              • Supervise worksites
              • Capture daily attendance in muster roll
              • Give daily mark-outs to groups of labourers before beginning the work
              • Take measurement at the end of the day
              • Maintain measurement book at the worksites
              • Update entries in the job card

Panchayat Development Officer (PDO)

              • All duties as entrusted by the GP
              • Supervise other functionaries
              • Perform such other duties as the Intermediate Panchayat, District Panchayat or the State Government may direct
              • Implementation and monitoring of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA

Junior Engineer (Works)

              • Preparation of work estimates
              • Giving layout of works for construction/ civil works under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA
              • Issue technical sanctions for all MGNREGS works
              • Monitor execution of work
              • Provide technical supervision
              • Check-measure the measurements recorded in the Measurement Book
              • Validate measurement of work taken by mate.

Intermediate Panchayat

              • Approve the works along with the expected outcomes which are to be executed by Intermediate Panchayat
              • Approve the block level plan for sending it to the district Panchayat for final approval by 2nd October every year
              • Supervise and monitor the projects taken up at the Gram Panchayat and Block level
              • Carry out such other functions as may be assigned to it by the State Council, from time to time.

Program Officer (PO)

              • Consolidate, after scrutiny, all project proposals received from GPs into the Block Plan and submit before the Intermediate Panchayat by 15th September every year, once it is approved it must be submitted it to the District Panchayat for scrutiny and consolidation
              • Matching employment opportunities arising from works within the Block Plan with the demand for work at each GP in the Block
              • Ensuring baseline surveys to assess work demand
              • The fair payment of wages to all the labourers or unemployment allowance is ensured by PO

Technical Assistant

          • Identification of works as per the Gram Sabha resolution on works
          • Recording details of works every week or soon after the closure of muster rolls whichever is earlier
          • Validating the initial measurement of work taken by Mate
          • Be responsible for work quality
          • Maintenance of measurement books

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