The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act
Q.1: What is the objective of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA)?
Ans: NREGA is an Act to provide a legal guarantee of 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. He/she will get the minimum wage rate notified for agricultural labour in the State until the Central Government notifies a minimum wage rate, which in any case shall not be less than Rs. 60 per day. NREGA came into effect on February 2, 2006.
Q.2: Who can apply for employment under the Act?
Ans: All adult members of a rural household, resident in the area, willing to do unskilled manual work can apply. Even if a person is already employed/engaged in work, he/she has the right to demand employment under NREGA.
Priority shall be given to women. Atleast one-third of the beneficiaries shall be women who have registered and requested for work under the Scheme.
Q.3: What is the process of registration?
Ans: A household interested in availing of the NREGA benefits has to make an application for registration through the prescribed written form or orally. The registration form and process are free of cost.
Q.5: What is the role of the Gram Panchayat in the registration process?
Ans: In order to authenticate the registration, the Panchayat verifies whether the applicant resides in that village and is an adult. The unit of registration is the household. After verification, the Gram Panchayat will issue a Job Card to the household.
Q.6: What is a Job Card?
Ans: A Job Card is the basic legal document, which enables the registered household to demand guaranteed employment. The Job Card should be issued within 15 days of application and is valid for five years.
The household Job Card will have the name and photograph of each registered member. The Job Card and photograph are free for the applicant.
Q.8: How can one apply for work?
Ans: To get employment, the job seeker should submit a written application to the Gram Panchayat or Programme Officer (at block office). Within a households’ entitlement for 100 days individual members can apply for work. The demand has to be for at least 14 days of continuous work.
Q.10. How many days can a person get work for?
Ans: Under NREGA, a household is entitled to 100 days of work in a financial year. This entitlement of 100 days can be shared within the household; more than one person in the household can be employed simultaneously or at different times.
Q.11: How will the applicant receive information on the given employment?
Ans: The Gram Panchayat/Programme Officer should send letters to the applicants informing them where and when to report for work. A public notice displayed at the Gram Panchayat and at the Programme Officer’s block office, should provide information on the date, place of employment and the names of those provided employment.
Q.12: What happens if employment is not given?
Ans: If the job seeker does not get employment within 15 days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought, whichever is later, a daily unemployment allowance has to be paid as per the Act.
Q.13: What happens if the applicant does not report to work within 15 days?
Ans: If the applicant does not report to work within 15 days of being notified, he or she will not be entitled to the unemployment allowance. The applicant can however, re-apply for work.
Q.14: Where will work be provided?
Ans: Work should be provided within 5 km of applicant’s residence. If employment is provided beyond 5 km radius of the applicant’s residence then he/she is entitled to 10% additional wages towards transport and living expenses.
Persons older in age and women shall be given preference for work nearer to the village.
Q.15: What facilities are to be made available to workers at work sites?
Ans: Work site facilities include safe drinking water, shade for children and periods of rest, first-aid box for emergency treatment of minor injuries and other health hazards connected with work. If more than five children below six years are present a person should be engaged to look after them
Q.16: What type of work will be given?
Ans: Creation of durable assets and strengthening the livelihood resource base of the rural poor shall be an important objective of the Scheme. Work through contractors is not permissible.
The kinds of works permissible according to priority are:
i. water conservation and water harvesting
ii. drought proofing (including afforestation and tree plantation)
iii. irrigation canals including micro and minor irrigation works
iv. provision of irrigation facility to land owned by households belonging to the SCs and STs or to land beneficiaries of land reforms or that of the beneficiaries under the Indira Awas Yojana
v. renovation of traditional water bodies including desilting of tanks
vi. land development
vii. flood control and protection works including drainage in water logged areas
viii. rural connectivity to provide all-weather access
ix. any other work which may be notified by the Central Government in consultation with the State Government.
Q.18: What is the role of the Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayat in the planning process?
Ans:The Gram Sabha should identify and recommend works. The Gram Panchayat should consolidate and send the recommendations of Gram Sabha to the Programme Officer.
Q.19: What wages will be paid?
Ans:The labourers are entitled to the statutory minimum wage for agriculture labourers in the State; until the Central Government notifies a minimum wage rate, which in any case shall not be less than Rs. 60 per day.
Q.21: How will the wages be calculated?
Ans:The worker can be paid either as daily wage or as piece-rate. If wages are paid on a piece-rate basis, the schedule of rates has to be such that a person working for seven hours would normally earn the minimum wage.
Q.22: How are program functionaries accountable for what they do?
Ans: External and internal evaluators are continuously and concurrently evaluating the Programme. The authority to conduct social audit is vested in Gram Sabha. A Village Level Monitoring committee is to be set up by Gram Sabha to oversee each work. Moreover, any contravention of the Act shall, on conviction, be liable to fine which may extend to one thousand rupees. A Grievance Redressal Mechanism should also be set up at the block, district and state level.