New Delhi, India: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREG) Act is all set to undergo a major renovation with proposals being considered to up the budgetary outlay from INR 40,000 crore to INR 68,000 crore with a wage-material ratio of 60:40, decentralise implementation with re-engineering in management and administrative systems.
Capacities of the NGOs are also proposed to be harnessed for mobilisation of beneficiaries, micro planning, building Panchayati Raj Institutions, outsourcing the recruitment process for selection of professionals to man MNREGA administrative offices and setting up of Information Communication System/Geographic Information System (GIS)-enabled asset management system through public-private partnership for better payments to the beneficiaries.
The working group on planning has recommended GIS-based resource mapping to facilitate better identification and preparation of developmental plans and suggested that watershed-based planning should be adopted for effective rejuvenation of natural resources.
Proposals to enlarge the scope of works under the scheme are also being considered with a view to graduating from unskilled to skilled works — including masonry, brick-making and book-keeping jobs — for the beneficiaries. If the proposals are accepted, the MNREGA workers will also be entitled to travel allowance and provident fund scheme.
These far-reaching recommendations have been made by the six working groups, created for improving and strengthening implementation of MNREGA. The recommendations aim at institutionalising the scheme with enhanced allocation, improved management and administrative systems, enlargement of the scope of works, skill development and sustainability of the benefits to MNREGA workers.
Besides decentralisation of the flagship scheme, the working groups have recommended placing real-time online muster roll, work attendance and measurement through hand-held devices at field level and setting up low-cost rural ATMs and SMS-based fund transfer and payment of wages to village payment agents for unhindered payment to the beneficiaries.
The groups have also recommended integration of agriculture with MNREGA to improve productivity of land, graduation from unskilled to skilled work and training for self-employment in areas like masonry, brick-making, mobile repairs, book-keeping and maintenance of muster roll in MNREGA so that the beneficiaries are able to continue with their employment on their own on a sustainable basis.
Source: The Pioneer