NREGA is an abbreviation form of ‘National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005’. However, at the time of launching, the name of the Act was renamed to ‘Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’, shortly known as MGNREGA.
MGNREGA is applicable to rural areas of all the states of India except area which has a 100% urban population. It is administered by the Central Government.
Notably, NREGA received presidential assent on 5th September 2005 and was notified on 7th September 2005. In the present article, we will analyze the objective of MGNREGA; eligibility criteria under MGNREGA; benefits available under MGNREGA; salient features of MGNREGA scheme; MGNREGA job card and application thereof; rights and entitlement of applicant under the scheme; impact of MGNREGA and relevant FAQs.
MGNREGA is the largest employment programme. The objective behind the MGNREGA scheme are listed hereunder-
1. It offers a legal guarantee for wage employment.
2. To provide 100 days guaranteed non-skilled employment to the registrant.
3. To provide a secure source of livelihood to the economically weaker section.
4. To enhance the condition of the underprivileged section of the society and empower the weaker individuals.
5. To reduce urban migration, for want of work, from the rural areas.
6. To strengthen the Panchayati Raj Institutions.
Simple eligibility criteria to be satisfied for availing benefit under MGNREGA are briefed hereunder-
1. The applicant should be a citizen of India.
2. The applicant should have completed 18 years at the time of application.
3. Applicant must be ready for unskilled labour delivery.
4. The applicant must be part of a local household.
The registrant will be offered the following benefits under the MGNREGA scheme-
1. The guaranteed job of 100 days for every Financial Year.
2. The job will be made available to the registrant within 15 days of the date of registration.
3. Minimum wages under the MGNREGA scheme is decided/ fixed by the respective state government.
Salient feature of MGNREGA are summarized hereunder-
1. It covers provision of unskilled employment to the adult member of the rural household for 100 days in a respective Financial Year.
2. Once applied under the scheme, employment is to be allotted within 15 days of the date of application.
3. In case employment is not allotted within the prescribed time, daily unemployment allowance is to be paid.
4. NREGA payment is to be disbursed on weekly basis which cannot go beyond fortnight.
5. Some of the categories of permissible works under NREGA are-
a. Irrigation of canals which includes micro and macro irrigation works;
b. Water harvesting and water conservation;
c. Flood control as well as protection work;
d. Drought proofing which includes plantation and afforestation;
e. Land development;
f. Renovation of water bodies which includes desilting of tanks;
g. Rural connectivity;
h. Any other notified work.
MGNREGA job card is the primary document that is issued to the person who is registered with the local gram panchayat under the MGNREGA scheme. It serves as an identity proof for the individuals. MGNREGA job card can also be used as a valid KYC document for opening a bank account or for opening a post office savings account.
An eligible applicant can easily apply for an MGNREGA job card by following the below steps-
1. Obtain the MGNREGA job card application form in any of the following ways-
a. Get an application form from local gram panchayat;
b. Download the application form from the NREGA website; or
c. Make an application on the plain paper.
2. Filling up the application form. However, if the applicant is making an application on the plain paper, it is mandatory to cover the following details/ information-
a. Name, age and gender of the applicant;
b. Name of the Village;
c. Name of the Block;
d. Name of the Gram Panchayat;
e. Details of the applicant being beneficiary of SC, ST, IAY or LR;
f. Signature or thumb impression of the applicant;
g. Photograph of the applicant.
3. Documents to be submitted with the application are-
a. PAN card;
b. Ration card;
c. Voter ID card;
d. Aadhaar card.
Once the application is submitted, the MGNREGA job card will be issued within 15 days from the date of submission of the application.
Following are the basic rights and entitlement of the applicant under the Scheme-
1. Apply for registration.
2. Obtain a job card.
3. Choice of time as well as the duration of the applied work.
4. Allocation of work within a period of 15 days from the date of application. In case of non-allocation of the work, right to get unemployment allowance.
5. Basic facilities like first aid; drinking water etc. on the working site.
6. Right of getting 10% extra wages in case the work is allocated beyond 5 KM radius.
7. Entitlement for work payment on a weekly basis. However, in any case, work payment is to be done within 15 days from the date on which the work was completed.
8. Proper medical treatment, in case of injury, during the course of employment. It also includes the cost of hospitalization.
9. Ex-gratia payment in case of death or disability incurred during the course of employment.
MGNREGA turned out to be a life-line to most of the rural areas during the COVID-19 phase. Statistics says that in the Financial Year 2020-2021 INR 1.10 Lakhs Crores were spent on MGNREGA scheme which covers over 7.55 Crore household across the country.
Speaking about the present statistics i.e. for Financial Year 2021-2022 (till date) there are 15.15 Crores active workers and around 6.37 Crore household has benefitted till date under the MGNREGA scheme.
Q.1 What is NREGA, when was it passed?
Ans. National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) got presidential assent on 5thSeptember 2005 and was notified vide notification dated 7th September 2005.
Q.2 When was NREGA implemented?
Ans. NREGA came into force on 2nd February 2006.
Q.3 Who can apply for an NREGA job card?
Ans. An individual, above 18 years, desirous of seeking unskilled employment under MGNREGA can apply for a job card.
Q.4 How to get an NREGA job card?
Ans. NREGA job card can easily be obtained by applying for the same. Eligible applicant can apply for an NREGA job card either via application form or via applying on the plain paper. However, if the applicant is applying on the plain paper, basic details like the name, age, gender of the applicant; name of the village, block and gram panchayat and photograph of the applicant needs to be mentioned in the application.
Q.5 What is the NREGA job card number?
Ans. Once the applicant is registered under NREGA, within 15 days of registration, a job card will be issued to the applicant. Such a job card carries a unique identification number which is known as the NREGA job card number.
Q.6 What is the schedule for the disbursement of wages under NREGA?
Ans. As per the Act, disbursement of daily wages is to be made on weekly basis. In any other case, disbursement should not be later than a fortnight from the date on which work was completed.