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.

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