National Rural Employment Guarantee Act – 2006 came into force on 2 February, 2006 and was initially launched in 200 of India’s most backward districts. From April 2008 the Act has extended to cover all the districts of the country. The objective of the scheme is to provide for the enhancement of livelihood security of households in rural India. At least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year is to be provided to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
The Act was framed to give legal guarantee of wage employment to anyone who is willing to do casual manual labor at the statutory minimum wage, thus making it the most expansive public employment programme anywhere in the world. It provides for a universal and enforceable legal right to employment. Under NREGA the state is under commitment to provide employment within 15 days to any adult who applies for work.