The MGNREGA remains one of the most ambitious programs for public welfare and rural development, but its objective cannot be achieved without a strong and capable PRI. Elucidate.
MGNREGA is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Rural Development that is driven by demand-based employment generation, ensuring the right to work.
Objectives of MGNREGA:
- Guarantees 100 days of work to rural households willing to do unskilled manual work.
- Unemployment allowance in case of non-availability of work.
- Mandatory allocation of funds for SC and ST laborers.
- Travel allowance if work is not available within a 5 km radius.
- Social audit mechanism for accountability.
- Data is available online on management information systems.
Role of PRIs:
- Gram Sabha is entrusted with prioritizing work related to rural development.
- The village Panchayat is responsible for awareness generation, monitoring, and social audits.
- Intermediate Panchayat is responsible for approving the works and has another supervisory role.
- District Panchayat coordinates annual block plans into a district plan.
Thus, the efficient application of right-based, bottom-up, people-centered schemes via MGNREGA requires a strong and capable PRI.
Concerns related to the implementation of MGNREGA:
- Genuine job cards are often deleted to meet hundred percent DBT targets.
- The allocated work does not result in asset building for rural areas.
- The centralized payment system has further left the representatives of PRI with no role in the implementation, monitoring, and grievance redressal of MGNREGA schemes.
- The administration almost dictates the implementation process, burdening the local elected representatives.
Improvement in the MIS data to give a true measure of performance and equipping PRIs to ensure leakage control can hopefully enhance the execution of MGNREGA for public welfare.