Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The government has initiated, sustained, and refined many programs since independence to help the rural poor. In order to minimize unemployment in rural areas, the government of India launched a number of programmes and schemes from time to time but they did not achieve the desired quantum and became ineffective. India has had a number of antipoverty programs since the early 1960s. These include the ‘National Rural Employment Programme’ and the ‘Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Program’. The National Rural Employment programme evolved in 1980 from the earlier ‘Food for work Programme’ to use unemployment and underemployed workers to build productive community assets. The rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme was instituted in 1983 to address the plight of the hard-core rural poor by expanding employment opportunities and building the rural infrastructure as a means of encouraging rapid economic growth. To improve the effectiveness of the National Rural Employment Programme, in 1989 it was combined with the ‘Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme” and renamed it as ‘Jawahar Rozgar Yojana’. The Ministry of Rural Development has been implementing various programmes in the rural areas for which it releases central funds for policy formulation, overall guidance, monitoring and evaluation.

Employment is the primary requirement for prosperous villages. Poverty and unemployment are inter related and form a vicious circle. Villages are unable to break it. Population employment discontent and violence is on the rise, playing havoc in the villages. The remedies are being applies half-heartedly as if concealing the wound with beautiful cover might heal it or catchy slogans might solve the problems. Right from the days of community development, this process is going on and the results are obvious. People are migrating from villages and there is no space left in cities. Villages are disintegrating and cities are turning into slums. It is implement remedial measures with determination and commitment.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA):

MGNREGA makes the government legally accountable for providing employment to those who ask for it and thereby goes beyond providing a social safety net towards guaranteeing the Rights to Employment. A very significant feature of this Act is that if a worker who has applied for work under MGNREGA is not provided employment within 15 days from the date on which work is requested, an unemployment allowance shall be payable by the State Government at the rate prescribe in the Act. MGNREGA is a unique weapon to activate and empower the Panchayats. It is a revolutionary step for India’s rural poor. It aims to identity the development activities. It lays the solution of the crux of the problem of long term employment opportunities. It has prevented distress migration and helped in empowerment of rural women. Moreover it is an integral part of rural development plan.

Progress of MGNREGA during the year 2006-07 to 2011-12

The Act was notified in 200 districts in the first phase with effect from February 2nd 2006 and then extended to additional 130 district in the financial year 2007-2008(113 districts were notified with effects from April 1st 2007, and 17 districts in UP were notified with effects from May 15th 2007). The remaining districts have been notified under the MGNREGA with effects from April 1, 2008 covering 34 States and Union Territories, 614 Districts, 6,096 Blocks and 2,65 lakhs Gram Panchayats. Thus MGNREGA covers the entire country with the exception of districts that have a hundred percent urban population.

Budget Allocation:

The pioneering programme saw its budget outlay increase from Rs.11,300 crore to Rs.40,100. The scheme experienced a negative increment in the budget allocation from Rs. 40,100 crore in 2010-11 to Rs. 40,000 crore in 2011-12.

Job Cards:

The MGNREGA makes it mandatory for jobseekers to have a job card, for which the rural people have to apply to the Panchayat. The Panchayat are required to provide applicants with job cards within 15 days. Having a job card is the first step to demand employment and claim wages or unemployment allowance if job is not provided within the stipulated time frame. Job Card is the most important instrument that can ensure that the workers are not being cheated on their entitlements. Government issued job-cards to the households under MGNREGA. The cumulative figures of the job-cards issued 3.79 crore of job cards. After that the figures increased up to 12.33 crores in the year 2011-12. A percentage indeed shows the growth from 100 points to 323.02 points during the six years.

Demand and Employment:

One of the most important aspects of MGNREGA is that the villagers can rightfully demand employment. The Act guarantees provision of at least 100 days of employment to each households that have been provided with 100 days of employment is an important indicator for assessing the progress of MGNREGA. The Government is bound to provide employment in response to the demand or provide unemployment allowance in case it is unable to do so. In order to understand the effectiveness of the Act, it is essential to look at the response of the Government in providing employment against the demand raised by the workers. From the data available available, the national scenario reveals that, 99 percent people who have applied for jobs have got employment under MGNREGA.
During the year 2009-10 the performance of the scheme in demand and supply was recorded 99.37 percent achievements.

Employment Generation:

Of the total person days generated, women constitute more than 40 percent . The scheduled caste families have been provided with 30 percent and the scheduled tribe families with 20 percent persons days of work. The following Table No. 05 shows the data about employment generation (mandays) under the MGNREGA.
the scheme has benefited to S.C ., S.T physically disabled persons and women In the year 2006-07; 9,050.54 lakh man may was generated was continually increased up to 28,359.57 lakh man days up to the year 2009-10 and thereafter it was seen up to 16,055.17 lakh man days in the year 2011-12 . Out of total man days was generated under the programmes the share of women was 40.63 percent in the year 2011-12. The average share of women in total person days was 46 percent during the study period. It is the big achievement of scheme for rural woman empowerment.

Available funds and its Utilization:

The Utilization of resource available with the state government is also an important indicator to measure the success of the state in implementing the Act. The states that are able to utilize more resources reflect that on an average, they have been able to produce more person days of work and create more infrastructures in the villages. The national average during the five years for utilization of NREGA resources is merely 77.64 percent. One major, and indeed unique, programme for poverty alleviation through employment generation and asset creation and which has elicited world-wide attention, is the Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act. It is based on the genius of using public works to play the role of a safety net by providing stabilization benefit to the rural poor women who lack skills of any kind except perhaps possess physical stamina. It has enabled the deployment of labour of the poor to build infrastructure for development. Its preponderant and immediate benefit every year, especially during times of distress due to droughts, is the effects of enabling the poor to handle the risk of decrease in consumption.


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