MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) is an Indian measure that guarantees ‘right to work’ to every labourer and safeguards their social security and labour rights. Under this act, the government provides at least 100 days of wage employment to the unskilled workers residing in the rural regions of Rajasthan in order to improve their living standards. The irony is that NREGA was introduced by Congress to provide employment in villages. However, in the changing times, Rajasthan is the leading creator of jobs under MGNREGS, a courtesy of Rajasthan BJP.
According to the national statistics, Rajasthan created 2.42 crores new jobs under NREGS last month, beating Tamil Nadu that created 2.02 crore jobs. Besides, this year, the government has added more days of work under the scheme, to ease the financial burden on workers post demonetisation. It might be possible that due to droughts, floods and damage to crops, more people have opted for this scheme this year.
Also, the government has increased the budget allotted to this scheme in 2016 to enhance the payment system. Last year, the estimated spending on wages under NREGA was Rs 3,200 crore. Nevertheless, this year, the figures have been upped to Rs 4,700 crore, thus creating more jobs and opportunities for people.
NREGS Touches More Villages in Rajasthan This Year
According to Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) member Mukesh Goswami, last year around 14,487 villages were declared disaster-affected. Out of these, 5,656 villages were struck by droughts. Therefore, an additional period of 50 days was approved under NREGS, in the disaster affected villages.
Firoz Khan, a social activist from Baran district mentioned that there has been some improvement in the condition of villagers since this announcement. Nevertheless, there have been minor glitches in terms of wage allotment process.
Government Claims that the Percentage of Timely Payment has Improved Since Last Year
Debasish Prusty, EGS (Employment Guarantee Scheme) Commissioner mentioned the figures for timely dispatch of payments. In 2013-2014, the percentage of timely payment was 15%. The numbers improved to 41% in 2014-2015 and 46% in 2015-2016. All wages have been dispatched to the worker accounts within 15 days of work.
This year, due to minor glitches in server, the payments were delayed. There was a huge backlog in payment in Shahbad and Kishanganj districts but the department has been able to sort this issue on time.
Officials claim that the mobilization of workers and improvement of wages at grassroots level is the main reason behind improved job opportunities in state. In future, they’ll put in more efforts to continue with the trend, at the same time, strengthening the digital networks and bank serves to ensure on-time delivery of payments to the workers.