10-years of MGNREGA: The way forward

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The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005 completed ten years of implementation on 2nd February 2016.

Under the Act, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme was launched with the objective of providing at least 100 days of employment in rural areas across the country.

Touted as one of the largest employment generation programmesin the modern world history, it made the right to employment as a legal right in independent India.

Achievements of MNREGA

• In 10-years of its implementation, the expenditure on the programme has amounted to 3.13 lakh crore rupees and out of this 71 percent was spent on wage payments to workers.
• Of the workers, the percentage of Scheduled Caste (SC) workers has consistently been about 20 percent and Scheduled Tribe (ST) workers has been about 17 percent.
• A total of 1980.01 crore person days were generated, out of which the percentage worked by women has steadily increased much above the statutory minimum of 33 percent.
• Under the programme, sustainable assets have been created linked to conservation of natural resources and overall development of gram panchayats.
• More than 65 percent of the works taken up under the programme are linked to agriculture and allied activities.
• It institutionalized progressive administrative practices like electronic fund management system, social audit, participation of people in the entire programme cycle, redressal of grievances through ombudsman,   etc.
• To a great extent, it helped to address the problem of employment in rural areas especially in times of distress. Consequently, it helped in reducing rural to urban migration to a great extent.
• World Bank in its State of Safety Nets 2015 report declared the scheme as the largest in the Public Works Programme (PWP) category in the world with 182 million beneficiaries.

In order to strengthen its implementation, the government unveiled following measures.

• The convergent planning exercise currently underway in 2569 backward blocks in the country will be consolidated in the State Rural Development Plan (SRDP) which will be the basis of implementation and monitoring for 2016-17.
• In order to enhance people’s participation in the programme, steps will be taken to undertake concurrent social audits and community monitoring.
• There will be a renewed focus on sustainable individual assets to benefit the poor and vulnerable households. Accordingly, 5 Lakh farm ponds and 10 Lakh Vermi and NADEP compost pits will be built in the FY 2016-17.
• There will be a continued focus on construction of Anganwadi Buildings and individual household latrines.
• Focus will be on imparting skills to workers. It will aim to train and place 10000 Barefoot Technicians from worker households and through Project LIFE, skill and train workers for wages, for self-employment and livelihood up gradation.