Right to Work (MG-NREGA)

Right to Work (MG-NREGA)

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Please click here to access the papers under the research project titled Impact Evaluation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in India.

The study is a collaborative effort of researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, D.C., Cornell University, Ithaca and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), Mumbai and funded by the International Initiative on Impact Evaluation (3ie). The goal of the study is to thoroughly evaluate the impacts of India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the largest public works project in the world.

Key findings of the 42nd Standing Committee Report (2012-13) on Rural Development-NREGA entitled: Implementation of MGNREGA, 2005 presented to Lok Sabha on 14.08.2013, (please click here to access) are as follows:

General Observations

•    The Standing Committee’s examination has revealed several disquieting features/ irregularities in the implementation of MGNREGA Scheme such as fudging of job cards, delay in payment of wages, non-payment of unemployment allowances, large number of incomplete works, poor quality of assets created and large number of cases of misappropriation and malpractices/ corruption etc. The Committee found that many States have failed to provide adequate support to PRIs such as dedicated personnel and other necessary infrastructure which is essential for efficient planning and implementation of works under the scheme. Similarly, many States are yet to establish grievance redressal authorities such as ombudsman.

Job Cards

•    The cumulative number of households issued job cards was 3,78,50,390 during 2006-07, 6,47,61,146 during 2007-08, 10,01,45,950 during 2008-09, 11,25,48,976 during 2009-10, 11,98,24,434 during 2010-11, 12,38,76,349 during 2011-12 (provisional) and 12,46,58,658 during 2012-13 (as on 02.11.2012).

•    The Standing Committee observed that during the last 7 years of the implementation of scheme, as many as 12.46 crore rural households out of 13.83 rural households (2001 census) have been registered and issued job cards in the country by State/UT Governments. However, the Committee noted that many discrepancies such as issue of fake job cards, inclusion of fictitious names, missing entry or delay in making entries in job cards, illegal custody of job cards by influential people etc. have been noticed. Similarly, complaints regarding non-issue of dated receipt to job applicants have been widely reported. The Committee are of the strong view that there is need to bring reform in the process of issue of job cards. The Committee is of the opinion that offences such as missing entries in the job cards and unlawful possession of job cards with influential people including elected representatives of PRIs or MGNREGA functionaries should be made punishable offence under section 25 of the Act.

Employment scenario

•    Against the guaranteed 100 days of unskilled waged employment under the Act, average person days per household were 43 during 2006-07, 42 during 2007-08, 48 during 2008-09, 54 during 2009-10, 47 during 2010-11, 43 during 2011-12 and during 2012-13 (up to 31 January, 2013) it is 36 days.

•    The Committee observed that average number of person days of employment provided per household in States with significant BPL population like Bihar (22 to 38 days) and West Bengal (14 to 35 days) were less than national average. The Committee is at loss to understand the logic of poor demand for work in States which have significant BPL population with less employment opportunities as compared to comparatively developed States.

•    Employment under MGNREGA demanded by households stood at 2.13 crore during 2006-07, 3.42 crore during 2007-08, 4.55 crore during 2008-09, 5.29 crore during 2009-10, 5.57 crore during 2010-11, 5.03 crore during 2011-12 (provisional) and 4.29 crore during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

•    Employment under MGNREGA provided by households stood at 2.10 crore during 2006-07, 3.39 crore during 2007-08, 4.51 crore during 2008-09, 5.25 crore during 2009-10, 5.49 crore during 2010-11, 4.99 crore during 2011-12 (provisional) and 4.25 crore during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

•    The total number of person days of employment generated under MGNREGA stood at 90.50 crore during 2006-07, 143.59 crore during 2007-08, 216.32 crore during 2008-09, 283.59 crore during 2009-10, 257.15 crore during 2010-11, 211.42 crore during 2011-12 (as on 30.01.2013) and 146.32 crore during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

•    The Committee noted that 1348.89 crore person days employment has been generated during the last seven years of implementation of MGNREGA works. However, claim of the Government to provide employment to 29.98 crore households out of 30.28 crore households who demanded employment during the aforesaid period seems to be unbelievable in the absence of authentic data regarding number of days of employment demanded by households.

•    Person days of employment provided per household stood at 43 during 2006-07, 42 during 2007-08, 48 during 2008-09, 54 during 2009-10, 47 during 2010-11, 43 during 2011-12 (provisional) and 36 during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

•    Average days of employment per household under MGNREGA during 2012-12 varied from 19 in Arunachal Pradesh to 69 in Tripura.

•    Total number of households that completed 100 days of employment under MGNREGA stood at 2161286 during 2006-07, 3601926 during 2007-08, 6521268 during 2008-09, 7083663 during 2009-10, 5561812 during 2010-11, 405442 during 2011-12 (provisional) and 970930 during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

Employment to women

•    Women's participation in MGNREGA in terms of persondays of employment stood at 36.40 crore (40.2%) during 2006-07, 61.15 crore (42.58%) during 2007-08, 103.57 crore (47.88%) during 2008-09, 136.40 crore (48.69%) during 2009-10, 122.74 crore (47.73%) during 2010-11, 101.86 crore (48.17%) during 2011-12 (provisional) and 77.73 crore (54.0%) during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

•    The Committee noticed that participation of women under MGNREGA works has been more than 40 percent in each of last seven years and that is more than the statutory requirement of 1/3 of the total beneficiaries. However, examination of the scheme by the Committee has revealed that participation of women in some States such as Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal has been less than national average. The Committee also found that Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have failed to meet statutory requirement of providing 1/3rd employment to the women beneficiaries.

Employment to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs)

•    Employment provided to the SC households (in person days) stood at 22.95 crore during 2006-07, 39.35 crore during 2007-08, 63.35 crore during 2008-09, 86.44 crore during 2009-10, 78.75 crore during 2010-11, 46.6 crore during 2011-12 (as on 30.01.2013) and 32.61 crore during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

•    Employment provided to the ST households (in person days) stood at 32.98 crore during 2006-07, 42.07 crore during 2007-08, 55.01 crore during 2008-09, 58.74 crore during 2009-10, 53.61 crore during 2010-11, 38.38 crore during 2011-12 (as on 30.01.2013) and 22.70 crore during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

Employment to the Disabled

•    Total number of disabled beneficiaries under the MGNREGA stood at 1,46,401 during 2006-07, 3,36,698 during 2007-08, 2,04,772 during 2008-09, 2,97,215 during 2009-10, 2,94,490 during 2010-11, 3,85,203 during 2011-12 (provisional) and 3,02,536 during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013).

•    The Committee has been informed that Mihir Shah Committee constituted for revision in guidelines for implementation of MGNREGA works has suggested for creation of special condition to facilitate inclusion of disabled persons in MGNREGA works. However, the Committee found that as against 2.1 crore person with disabilities (census 2001) in the country only 19,67,315 have been provided work since inception of the Scheme. The Committee is unhappy to find that implementing agencies have failed to create proper environment for working of disabled persons in MGNREGA works.

Financial Management

•    Percentage of unspent amount (of total available funds) under the MGNREGA stood at 26.92% during 2006-07, 18.01% during 2007-08, 27.13% during 2008-09, 23.54% during 2009-10, 27.31% during 2010-11, 22.11% during 2011-12 (provisional) and 32.82% during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

•    The Committee find that even though Rs. 2,63,182.70 crore were available for implementation of MGNREGA works from 2006-07 to 2012-13, implementing agencies could utilise Rs. 1,95,321.03 crore during these years. The Committee also noted that the trend of expenditure pattern has been uneven and huge unspent balance has been reported in each financial year. Examination by the Committee has revealed that huge unspent balances were lying with some big States such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan etc.

•    Expenditure on wages under MGNREGA stood at Rs. 5842.37 crore during 2006-07, Rs. 10738.47 crore during 2007-08, Rs. 18200.03 crore during 2008-09, Rs. 25579.32 crore during 2009-10, Rs. 25686.53 crore during 2010-11, Rs. 24860.91 crore during 2011-12 (provisional) and Rs. 15557.78 crore during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

•    Expenditure on material under MGNREGA stood at Rs. 2758.77 crore during 2006-07, Rs. 4617.47 crore during 2007-08, Rs. 8100.89 crore during 2008-09, Rs. 11084.49 crore during 2009-10, Rs. 11891.09 crore during 2010-11, Rs. 11065.16 crore during 2011-12 (provisional) and Rs. 4279.28 crore during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

•    Administrative expenditure as a percentage of available funds stood at 1.84% in 2006-07, 2.59% in 2007-08, 2.53% in 2008-09, 2.5% in 2009-10, 3.32% in 2010-11 and 9.13% in 2012-13.

Progress in work

•    Work completion rate (%) under the MGNREGA stood at 46.34% during 2006-07, 45.99% during 2007-08, 43.76% during 2008-09, 48.94% during 2009-10, 50.86% during 2010-11, 20.25% during 2011-12 (as on 30.01.2013) and 15.02% during 2012-13 (as on 30.01.2013). 

•    The Standing Committee found that implementing agencies were able to complete only 98.36 lakh works out of 296.13 lakh works undertaken during first seven years (as on 30.01.2012) of implementation of MGNREGA. The Committee’s examination has revealed that performance of smaller States such as Kerala, Manipur and Mizoram was better than the bigger States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

•    The Committee noted that water related works constitute majority of works (54.58 percent) undertaken in MGNREGA, while work on private lands of SC/ST/BPL/SML and IAY and Land reform beneficiaries, Land development, rural connectivity and others (Bharat Nirman Kendra) constitute the 10.89%, 11.38%, 19.47% and 3.7% respectively. The Committee take note of the fact that MGNREGA works are being criticized for poor quality of assets created under it. The Committee's examination has revealed that expenditure limit of 40 percent imposed on material component including skilled and semi-skilled workers is restricting implementing agencies to undertake works requiring material components or skilled workers.

Delay in wage payment

•    The Committee noted that 8.67 crore Banks/Post Office accounts have been opened in the country to make payment of wages to the MGNREGA workers. However, the Committee noted that many problems like delay in fund transfer, insufficient cash limit of Post Offices, distance of Banks/Post Offices, single man working branch etc. have been noticed which causes delays in payment of wages. The Committee also noted that initiative such as appointment of banking correspondents is yet to become fully operational in majority of the States.

Unemployment allowance

•    The Committee is astonished to note that so far only 4078 workers were paid unemployment allowances in 8 States during 2006-09 and Rs. 1,23,589 has been paid to eligible beneficiaries in 2010-11 in six States. The Committee also noted that non-issuance of dated receipt of demanded work as pointed out by audit report of C&AG of India, prevents workers to claim unemployment allowance.

Transparency and Accountability

•    The Committee noted that 2,91,776 Social audits have been conducted during 2011-12 in 1,72,852 Panchayats out of 2,48,204 Gram Panchayats in the country. Also there is negligible participation of Gram Sabhas during social audits due to lack of awareness and failure of administration to ensure regular meetings of Gram Sabhas. The Committee also observed that performance of MGNREGA is better in those States which have a healthy tradition of social audit.

•    On the issue of formulation of Grievance Redressal Rules, the Committee found that only 8 States/UTs namely, Andaman & Nicobar islands, Haryana, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh have framed grievance redressal rules.

•    The Committee noted that the MoRD has proposed for appointment of ombudsman in each District for grievance redressal for the issues related to MGNREGA. The Committee also found that so far 263 Ombudsman have been appointed in 22 States.

Decentralised planning

•    The Committee expressed its astonishment to note that despite constitution of District Planning Committees (DPCs) in most of the States, PRIs have not been able to formulate District Perspective Plan, a necessary condition of effective utilization of funds available under MGNREGA. The Committee noted that most of the States are still following top down approach of planning for MGNREGA based upon labour budget. The Committee is of the considered view that formulation of District Perspective Planning (DPP) based upon active participation of Gram Sabhas is essential for effective utilization of resources.

•    The Committee noted that one of persistent complaints against MGNREGA scheme relates to less availability of labour during agriculture season. The Committee has been informed that only 47 days of employment were provided in the period for the year 2010-11 of which 12 days of employment were provided from July to November, 2010 which corresponds to the peak agriculture season. The remaining 35 days of employment were provided mostly in the lean agriculture season as supplementary employment.

•    The Committee is of considered view that lack of proper planning of works under MGNREGA without keeping in view of local agriculture practice is causing the problem of labour availability in agriculture sector. The problem could only be solved if there is follow up of guidelines about preparation of District Perspective Planning by District Planning Committees and annual planning by Gram Sabha clearly indicating works availability in a year while taking care of local agricultural practices.

•    So far, the States have been able to recruit only 2,12,586 dedicated personnel as against the target of 2,64,085 for implementation of MGNREGA upto the year 2010-11. The Committee find that absence of required administrative and technical staff results in delay of preparation of muster roll, estimation and evaluation of works etc. which ultimately affects generation of employment and delay in payment of wages to workers.

•    The Committee is concerned to note that targets for training programme for Elected Panchayat Representatives (EPRs) in many States are not being met. The Committee noted that, only 4,67,222 EPRs have been trained against the target for training of 6,37,484 during the year 2011-12. Similarly, targets for training for dedicated personnel under MGNREGA schemes have not been achieved.

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