IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


10th August, 2022 Polity and Governance

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In News

  • Recently MGNREGA workers from across the country organised a 3 days protest at the national capital’s Jantar Mantar, and they claimed that they hadn’t been paid for months.
  • Millions of workers employed under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) have not received wages for months.
    • Workers from West Bengal are affected the most, with 13.2 million people unpaid for 7 months.
    • West Bengal is the only state that received no funds under the MGNREGA scheme in this fiscal year.
  • The Union Government highlighted that the funds to West Bengal were stopped under Section 27 of the MGNREGA, 2005; non-compliance with the directions issued by the Union government.
    • The West Bengal state government has replied that the law guarantees payment of wages 15 days after completion of work, the Union government is violating this.


  • Recently the Union government introduced the mandatory implementation of a national mobile monitoring system for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
  • The National mobile monitoring system was initiated to capture the attendance through the mobile system at worksites with more than 20 workers.
  • The new system has resulted in the delay of wage payments to workers.
    • According to some social activists, the new system was launched without addressing various technical issues.
    • Many districts are unable to process wage payments.
    • Inability to upload attendance data.
  • After the implementation of the Public Financial Management System, it is necessary to release funds through a single account for the State MGNREGA, this has also complicated matters.
  • Critics say that the Union government has implemented these changes unilaterally without studying the ground reality.




Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) 2005

  • The MGNREGA is Indian labour law and social security programme that aims to guarantee the 'right to work'.
  • It provides a legal right for 100 days of employment in every financial year to at least one member of every rural household whose adult members agree to do unskilled manual work.
  • The Ministry of Rural Development is monitoring the implementation of this scheme.
  • Women were guaranteed one-third of the jobs made available under the MGNREGA.
  • The MGNREGA programme also helps in creating durable assets (such as roads, canals, ponds and wells).
  • Work to be provided within 5 km of workers' residence and minimum wages are to be paid.
  • Right to get unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within 15 days of applying.
  • MGNREGA is implemented mainly by gram panchayats. Adult members of rural households submit their details to the Gram Panchayat. The Gram Panchayat registers households after making an enquiry and issues a job card. The job card contains the details of the adult member enrolled and his /her photo
  • The involvement of contractors is banned.
  • The Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory, which ensures accountability and transparency.


Constitutionality of MGNREGA

  • MGNREGA provides a 'right to work' in accordance with Article 41 that directs the State to secure for all citizens the right to work.
  • It also protects the environment through sustainable rural works, which is consistent with Article 48A which directs the State to protect the environment.
  • Article 21 guarantees the right to life with dignity to every citizen of India, this act promotes dignity among the rural people through an assurance of livelihood security.
  • Article 16 guarantees equality of opportunity in matters of public employment and prevents the State from discriminating against anyone in matters of employment on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, place of residence or any of them.
  • NREGA also follows Article 46 which requires the State to promote the interests of and work for the economic uplift of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and protect them from discrimination and exploitation.
  • Article 40 mandates the State to organize village panchayats and award them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.



Significance of MGNREGA

  • The programme is providing economic security and creates rural assets.
  • It also helps in protecting the environment, reducing rural-urban migration and promoting social equity, etc.
  • It focuses on the economic and social empowerment of women.
  • It provides “Green” and “Decent” work.
  • Works under MGNREGA help to address the climate change vulnerability and protect the farmers from such risks and conserve natural resources.