National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

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The Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, (MGNREGA), was launched in September, 2005. This act has been considered as one of the significant developments which could transform the rural economy and provide social security to the rural people. The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has defined MGNREGA as ““An Act to provide for the enhancement of livelihood security of the households in rural areas of the country by providing at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household”.
The main objectives of MNREGA as outlined by MoRD are: (a) To provide wage employment opportunities; (b) to create sustainable rural livelihoods through regeneration of the natural
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Presently, the Act covers 626 districts of the country. Legislation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and efforts at its subsequent implementation beginning the financial year 2006-07 mark a sharp departure from the past tradition, as the latter are designed around the basic concept of a rights based approach to development (Datta et al, 2009). Prior to this, India was following the needs based approach. So there was a paradigm shift in the approach to development with the launch of MGNREGA.
` MGNREGA is a right-based framework and it provides a legal guarantee to work. Any adult member of a household willing to do unskilled manual work would be provided
employment with 15 days. If the person does not get employment, the state govt. is required to pay an unemployment allowance. The act does not permit the use of contractors which were a major source of exploitation for the rural poor. With respect to labour intensive works, a ratio of 60:40 is to be maintained. The schedule 11 of the act gives a list of the permissible works under MGNREGA, most of which relate to water-conservation, irrigation and flood-protection etc.
It is rather unfortunate that serious and rigorous studies on NREGS in India are very few in number (Datta et al, 2009). This paper examines the key outcomes of MGNREGA with respect to employment and budgetary allocations. Section
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