The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act was notified by the Government of India on September, 2005 and was made effective w.e.f. 2nd February 2006. In the first phase, the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme (NREGS) was introduced in District Chamba and Sirmour on 2nd February, 2006. In second phase NREGS was started in District Kangra and Mandi w.e.f. 1-4-2007. Now in the third phase all the remaining 8 districts of the State have been covered under the scheme w.e.f. 1.4.2008.
1. SALIENT FEATURE
The salient feature of the scheme is to provide for the enhancement of livelihood security of the households in rural areas of the State by providing 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is open to all rural households in the areas notified by the Government of India. The entitlement of 100 days of guaranteed employment in a financial year is in terms of a household. This entitlement of 100 days per year can be shared within the household.
All adult members of the household who registered can apply for work. To register, they have to:-
a) Be local residents “local“ implies residing within the gram panchayat.
b) Be willing to do un-skilled manual work.
c) Apply as a household at the local gram panchayat.
3. APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION AND ISSUANCE OF JOB CARDS
The application for registration can be given on plain paper or on the prescribed application format available at gram panchayat level or an oral request for registration can be made. The application should contain the names of those adult members of the household who are willing to do un-skilled manual work, and particulars such as age, sex and SC/ST status etc. After verification all particulars are entered in the registration register by the concerned Gram Panchayat. Every household is assigned a registration number. Job cards to every registered household are issued by the gram panchayat. The job cards are issued within a fortnight of the application for registration. Photographs of adult members who are applicants are attached to the job cards. The cost of job card and photographs is borne as part of the programme funds. The job card is valid for a period of 5 years.
4. APPLICATION FOR WORK AND ALLOCATION OF EMPLOYMENT
Applications for work can be submitted to the gram panchayat as well as to the Programme Officer. Applications should be given in writing and a dated receipt for the application for work must be issued to the applicant. The applications for work must be for at least 14 days of continuous of work. Applicants who are provided work are to be intimated by means of letter sent to them at the address given in the job card and also by a public notice displayed at the offices of the gram panchayat. The wage employment to the applicant is to be provided within 15 days of the date of receipt of application. As stated in the Act (Schedule 1), contractors can not be engaged in any manner in the execution of works.
5. PERMISSIBLE WORKS
As per schedule 1 of the Act the focus of the scheme is on the following works in their order of priority:-
(i) Water Conservation and Water Harvesting works;
(ii) Drought proofing works (including aforestation and tree plantation)
(iii) Irrigation canals including micro and minor irrigation works;
(iv) Provision of irrigation facility, horticulture plantation and land development facilities on land owned by the households belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes or to below poverty line families or to beneficiaries of land reforms or to the beneficiaries under the Indira Awas Yojana of the Government of India;
(v) Renovation of traditional water bodies including desiliting of tanks ;
(vi) Land developments works;
(vii) Flood control and protection works including drainage in water logged areas;
(viii) Rural connectivity to provide all-weather access; and
(ix) Any other work which may be notified by the Government of India in consultation with the State Government.
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6. PAYMENT OF WAGES
(a) Every person working under the scheme is entitled to wages at the minimum wage fixed by the State Government.
(b) Equal wages are to be paid to both man and woman workers.
(c) Workers are entitled to being paid on weekly basis and in any case within a fortnight of the date on which work was done (NREGA section -
7. PAYMENT OF UNEMPLOYMENT ALLOWANCE
(i) If an applicant for employment under the scheme is not provided such employment within 15 days of receipt of his application seeking employment or from the date on which the employment has been sought in the case of advance application, whichever is latter, he shall be entitled to a daily unemployment allowance which will be one fourth of the wage rate for the first thirty days during the financial year and one half of the wage rate for the remaining period of the financial year.
(ii) The payment of unemployment allowance is the liability of the State Government.
(iii) The liability of the State Government to pay unemployment allowance to a household during any financial year will cease as soon as:-
(a) The applicant is directed by the Gram Panchayat or the Programme Officer to report for work ; or
(b) The period for which employment is sought comes to an end and no member of the household of the applicant had turned up for employment ; or
(c) The adult members of the household of the applicant have received in total at least 100 days of work within the financial year ; or
(d) The household of the applicant has earned as much from the wages and unemployment allowance taken together which is equal to the wages for 100 days of work during the financial year.
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8. FACILITIES AT WORK SITE
(1) The facilities of safe drinking water, shade for children and place of rest, first –aid-box-with adequate material for emergency treating for minor injuries and other health hazards connected with the works being performed shall be provided at the work site.
(2) In case the number of children below the age of six years accompanying the women working at any sites is five or more, one such woman may be deputed to look after such children. The women deputed to look after such children shall be paid the normal wages.
9. WAGE MATERIAL RATIO
The ratio of wage costs to material costs should be no less than the minimum norm of 60:40 stipulated in the Act. This ratio should be applied preferably at the Gram Panchayat, Block and District levels. The wages of skilled and semi skilled labourers should be included in the material costs.