Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is an employment guarantee scheme implemented in India, enacted by legislation on 25 August 2005. The scheme provides 100 days of employment every financial year to those adult members of any rural household who are prepared to do unskilled wages related to public work at a statutory minimum wage of Rs 220 per day.
The Act was launched with the objective of increasing the purchasing power of rural people, mainly for those living in rural India. Semi-skilled or non-skilled work, whether they are below the poverty line or not. About one-third of the assigned workforce is made up of women. The government is planning to open a call center, which can be contacted on the duty-free number 1800-345-22-44 at the start. Initially, it was called the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA),
But it was renamed on October 2, 2009.
The scheme has also been severely criticized and argued that this scheme is no more effective than other schemes for poverty alleviation.
The first criticism is financial. MNREGA is one of the largest initiatives of its kind in the world. The national budget for the fiscal year 2006–2007 was 113 billion rupees (about US $ 2.5bn and about 0.3% of GDP) and now fully operational it will cost the 2009–2010 fiscal
391 billion rupees a year. Jyoti Treas and others suggested that this could be funded through improved tax administration and reforms, while the tax-GDP ratio has actually been declining so far. It is expected that the cost of this scheme will be 5% of GDP. Another important criticism is that the end products of public action plans (such as water conservation, land development, afforestation, provision of irrigation systems, road construction, or flood control) are insecure, which the rich sections of society can occupy. A monitoring study of MGNREGA in Madhya Pradesh showed that the activities being carried out under this scheme had become more or less standardized in all villages, with little to no local consultation.
Further concerns include the fact that certain sections of society are excluded due to corruption of local government. It has also been found that the local government claimed more job cards than the actual number of persons employed, in order to gain more funds than necessary, which is then embezzled by the local authorities. A bribe of up to 50 rupees is given for obtaining a job card.
MNREGA is criticized mainly for two things. One is the leakage of this scheme on a large scale and secondly, the pits are dug and filled in the name of work, which is of no use. these two
Criticisms are exaggerated and based on intellectual laziness and ideological parochialism. There is no doubt that like other schemes, MNREGA is also facing the problem of corruption. There is a need to deal strictly with corruption, but fund cuts are not the solution. MNREGA has been fighting corruption through social audits like IT and community-based accountability mechanisms. The fact is that there are very few schemes which are linked to a hundred percent technology and the data related to them has been made public. In 2013, efforts were made to address concerns related to the sustainability and utility of the works under MNREGA by incorporating new works into it. The need and utility of this law cannot be decided due to poor implementation or corruption in some states or districts. While assessing the MNREGA, we must keep in mind that it is the only instrument that empowers the village panchayats. Has been doing Fifty percent of the total works are executed by gram panchayats. Along with this, the social audit ensures accountability. No other scheme has released such a large amount of funds. On average, an amount of fifteen lakh rupees is released directly to gram panchayats every year. Thus, if we believe in Gram Sabha to Lok Sabha, then the basic structure of MNREGA should not be abandoned. This plan needs to be constantly reviewed and evaluated. The focus of MNREGA should be on the disadvantaged communities and skill development of the most backward areas. It was made part of MGNREGA in 2013 and needs to be expanded today. In addition, MNREGA should be immediately linked to the socio-economic caste census. Continuity in political support is most important for MNREGA. What is not necessary is the gradual strangulation of this scheme, hence the main basis of employment of unskilled laborers, though there are some shortcomings in this, its contribution cannot be underestimated. There is a need for better implementation.