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NREGA: Registration, Verification, Job cards, Application for Work etc

Updated on: 04 Jan, 2023 06:35 PM

In this section of the blog, you will find how you can be a beneficiary of NREGA (now MNREGA) scheme and also what facilities you are entitled to. This section also covers the employees’ allowances if no work has been allotted to the employee under the scheme.

Process for Registration under the NREGA scheme

  • The application for registration can be made at a local Gram Panchayat.
  • You can register yourself via three different modes: via the prescribed form, on a plain paper or orally as well.
  • Household as a unit is entitled to register under this scheme
  • Prescribed forms are available at every Gram Panchayat for free of cost. If anyone is charging money for prescribed forms, you are not liable to pay it as it is illegal.

Verification procedure of the application under NREGA

  • Verification of the forms is carried out by the Gram Panchayat. The verification is done on the basis of:
    1. Members of the household who have applied should be adults
    2. All the applicants should have a local domicile
  • Any single women living alone is also eligible to apply under this scheme.
  • No discrimination policy is adhered to during the registration and verification process.
  • Once the verification process is complete, employees are given their Job cards.

Job cards under the NREGA scheme of the Government of India:

Once your application has been verified and accepted, you will be issued a ‘Job card’.

  • The job card is for every rural household. A job card usually contains the names and photographs of all the members of the household.
  • It is a legal document that allows you to exercise your ‘Right to Work’ under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
  • Anyone possessing a Job card is eligible to apply for work under this scheme.
  • For preparing the labour budget, Job cards are taken into consideration.
  • Within 15 days of the application, the Job card should be issued.
  • Somebody else’s job cards cannot be used to secure work. Job cards should be in the possession of the rightful owners.
NREGA scheme

This is how a typical job card looks like. Your job card will contain all the information listed above in the picture. So, it is imperative that you are furnishing correct information while registering yourself under the NREGA scheme.

How to apply for work under the NREGA scheme?

Once you have your Job card, you are eligible to apply for work under this scheme.

  • Once you have applied for work, you should receive a receipt containing the date on which you demanded the work.
  • You should receive work within 15 days from the demand for work.
  • You can apply for work either individually or in a group.
  • The application can be made via different modes like orally, on the telephone, via an online portal, and through a written application.
  • Time and duration of the employment can be specified by the worker during the employment process. However, a minimum of 14 days of employment is mandatory.
  • An advanced application or multiple applications can be submitted by the worker for employment in a different period.

Provision of work done in NREGA:

  • You are entitled to unemployment allowances on a daily basis if you are not provided with any work within 15 days of applying for work.
  • Only adult members are eligible to apply for work.
  • The Panchayats are also responsible for maintaining a list of work which can be offered to the worker on demand.
  • As mentioned above, each project should have at least ⅓ female workers.
  • You are also entitled to obtain work within 5 km radius of your village.
  • If the work allotted to you is outside the 5 km radius, then you can demand travel allowances from your employer. 10% of the extra wages should be provided to meet the travel and living expenses.
  • Women and people older in age should be given preference for work in their own vicinity.

Facilities extended to workers under the NREGA scheme:

You (worker/employee) are entitled to several benefits under this scheme. Check the list below to know your entitlements:

  • Workers are entitled to basic facilities like safe drinking water, resting place for children and workers, medical facilities to treat major and minor injuries of the minor and the workers. Along with this, the employer also appoints a caretaker to take care of the worker’s children below the age of 6 years.
  • You can check the muster rolls anytime you want. You can also check the muster rolls online from the official website of NREGA or MNREGA,
  • You also have the right to check the measurement details.
  • If your wages are not paid within 15 days, then you can demand a wage delay compensation.

Has NREGA been implemented effectively?

This scheme was implemented in 2006 and by 2008, it covered all the rural districts of the nation. As per the provision, if work is not provided within 15 days of asking for it, then the worker is eligible for unemployment allowance. Since our population is in billions, it was difficult to provide work to everyone and hence people were eligible for unemployment allowance. Due to these allowances, people didn’t want to work as they were getting money for free.

  • Another major drawback was the ineffective implementation. Payment of the worker’s wages was delayed with months and no grievance redressal mechanism was operational. If the payment of the wages is delayed, then the workers are eligible for compensation under the ‘Payment of Wages Act’. Since the grievance redressal system was not operational, complaints weren’t given any attention.
  • People faced problems due to job cards also. Hundreds of people were deprived of their job cards and without job cards, you cannot apply for employment. Apart from this, job cards which were already issued contained incomplete information. On some job cards, either the photograph of the worker was missing or the signatures of the issuing officer. If people had complete job cards, they failed to secure jobs. Women were in worse conditions. Only 5% of women were able to secure work under this scheme.
  • Lack of technical support and human resources acted as a hurdle in the implementation of the scheme in a decentralised manner. The scheme has not been implemented properly due to excessive dependence on the village panchayats. Due to this, only ‘few’ people in close contact with the landlords got proper 100 days employment.
  • Additionally, the workers/villagers play a huge role during the social audit which is conducted at least once every six months. But due to lack of knowledge and awareness of the scheme, workers/villagers involvement in the social audit was minimal.
  • Despite transparency policies, high-level cases of corruption were uncovered and registered.

Current scenario of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act:

According to the latest news article, MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) has registered the lowest hike in employee wages. As per the data, in 34 out of 35 states and union territories, the employee wages have hit the rock bottom since the advent of this scheme. A huge difference was recorded between the centre recommended wages and the state recommended wages. For the 2019-2020 financial year, MNREGA recorded an average hike of 2.16%. Despite this, Nagaland is the only state which is providing higher wages to the workers as compared to the wages announced by the state. Nagaland is providing Rs. 192 per day which is 17% more than the centre notified minimum wage, i.e, Rs. 115 per day. In the last financial year, MNREGA wages were lower than the minimum agricultural wages in at least 28 states and union territories.
In states like Orissa, Goa, Gujarat, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Sikkim, the wages provided under MNREGA is approximately 70% less than the prescribed minimum wages. Under this scheme, Goa provides Rs. 254 per day whereas the minimum amount prescribed is Rs. 409 per day. Jharkhand and Bihar provide Rs. 171 daily whereas the minimum wages for these states is Rs. 239 and Rs. 246 respectively. A committee set up under the leadership of the Anoop Sathpathy, a fellow at the V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, suggests that minimum wages should be revised to Rs. 375 and should be accepted across the country. The idea behind this suggestion was that NREGA stands for paying pages not less than the minimum wages. Currently, only five states have a daily minimum wage of Rs. 375 or more and Haryana is the only state which is providing Rs. 284 per day under MNREGA which is still less than the prescribed minimum wage.
To know the top and bottom ranking states/union territories in terms of wage provided and the prescribed minimum wages, check the table below:

NREGA scheme

In this year’s interim budget, MNREGA has been allocated Rs. 60,000 crore for the year 2019-2020. As per the data, the money allocated to this scheme in this financial year is 11% higher than the money allocated in the previous financial year.

Special provisions for workers belonging to these categories:

Under MNREGA, workers belonging to these categories are entitled to special provisions. Work for them is designed keeping in mind their physical capacity and mental capability. In some cases, volunteers are picked from the public who can assist people belonging to these special categories in completing their work. Special categories of the workers are:

  • Recently released bonded labours
  • People above the age of 65 years
  • Groups marked as ‘Nomadic tribals’
  • People with certain disabilities
  • People belonging to primitive tribal groups
  • Women with special conditions
  • Individuals displaced internally due to several reasons
  • People diagnosed with HIV
  • Tribes which have been de-notified by the Indian government

MNREGA also prepares a list of work suitable for

  • The differently abled person
  • For the orthopedically handicapped person
  • For visually impaired persons
  • The hunchbacked persons and
  • For a mentally handicapped person.

Special projects are designed to help such people to attain their livelihood.

NREGA scheme

Source: Live Website

Frequently Asked Questions

Q- What is the difference between NREGA, MNREGA and MGNREGA?

All these three schemes are same. The scheme was first launched in the name of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act abbreviated as NREGA and was later renamed to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act popularly called as MNREGA or MGNREGA.

Q- What does MGNREGA stand for?

MGNREGA stands for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Q- What is MGNREGA?

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is an employment scheme designed especially for rural areas which was introduced in 2005. The scheme has covered almost all the rural districts in India.

Q- What is NREGA job card?

NREGA job card is issued to everyone who is seeking employment under this scheme. This card typically contains the information of all the adults from a single household who are willing to work. It also contains the number of days the worker has received employment for. It also acts as an identity for the NREGA workers.

Q- Is there any difference between NREGA and MNREGA?

No, there is no difference between NREGA and MNREGA. NREGA stands for National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and MNREGA stands for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. Initially, the scheme was launched as NREGA but later it was renamed to MNREGA as Mahatma Gandhi gave utmost importance to the concept of Gram Swaraj.

Q- Explain the three main features of NREGA?

Three major features of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 are:

  • It provides a minimum of 100 days of employment to people in rural areas every financial year
  • It aims at providing more autonomy to the Panchayati Raj institutions
  • Providing a source of livelihood to the weaker section of the society

Q- What does MNREGA mean in Telugu?

This is how you write Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act: మహాత్మా గాంధీ జాతీయ గ్రామీణ ఉపాధి హామీ చట్టం

Q- Whose idea was it to introduce NREGA?

This act was first introduced in 1991 by then Prime Minister, P V Narasimha Rao. In 2006, the proposal was introduced in the Parliament and was implemented in 625 districts. By 2008, it was implemented in all the rural districts.

Q- Why MNREGA is still active under the new government?

MNREGA still continues to exist under the Modi regime because the scheme has more benefits than drawbacks. It is by far the best rural employment scheme. The problem only lies with ineffective implementation and rampant corruption at various levels. It has benefitted several households and has certainly improved the rural GDP. According to the data available on the government website, around 5.24 crore households have been benefited.

Q- What is the difference between ‘Skill India’ initiative and MNREGA?

‘Skill India’ is an initiative to train over 40 crore people in India in relevant industry related skills. The major objective is to train the youth of the country in technical skills to help them secure better employment opportunities. Whereas, MNREGA is about providing employment to unskilled/semi-skilled/skilled labour for a minimum period of 100 days. The major objective of the scheme is to make people financially independent and help them getting a secure livelihood.

Q- How much progress has NREGA made till now?

It’s been 13 years since the implementation of NREGA. NREGA has made significant progress in terms of rural employment and in the management of natural resources. Check the table below to know the exact numbers and progress:

Categories Figures
Active workers (2018-19) 11.78 crores
Assets generated till date 4.19 crore
Person-days generated (2018-19) 265.83 crores
Direct Benefit Transfer (2018-19) 39.02 crores
Households benefitted (2018-19) 5.26 crores
Individual category works (2018-19) 1.84 crores

All this data has been taken from the official website of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. You can access the data from this link: Nrega Home

Q- Is MNREGA a good scheme to continue with?

Yes, India should definitely continue with this scheme as suggested by many economists. Some of the reasons why this scheme should be rescinded are:

  • More than half of the projects undertaken under NREGA are related to the agriculture sector of the economy. Due to these projects, over 1,980 crore person-days jobs have been created.
  • Over 3 lakh crore rupees have already been spent on the implementation of the scheme. Around 70% of this amount has been spent on wages for the workers.
  • SCs and STs make up for 51% of the person-days employment. And women make up for 47% which is definitely above the 33% quota set aside for the women.
  • Of the 14.6 million projects, 60% of the work has been completed under this scheme.

Q- Did Modi government dilute the MNREGA scheme?

Several members have claimed that the NDA government has either changed/diluted the provisions of the MNREGA. Due to this, strong criticism has been levelled against the Rural Development Minister, Nitin Gadkari. Changes that have been made are:

  • The earlier labour material ratio has been changed from 60:40 to 51:49. This has led to cut down in rural employment opportunities due to increased dependence on technology
  • The government has also reduced the districts covered under this scheme to ⅓
  • Due to the changed policies, a 40% decrease was recorded in employment opportunities provided to the workers
  • It has also changed the nature of the scheme from demand driven to fund allocation scheme

Q- Who are ‘Village resource person’ and what are their responsibilities?

‘Village resource people’ are generally roped in to conduct social audits of the scheme. These members are preferably selected from the women self-help groups. As part of social auditing, these people are also trained in gathering evidence, learning the administrative system, gaining basic knowledge about measurements, conducting public consultations on matters related to the scheme, and preparing social audit reports on the principles of accountability and transparency.

Q- What is MNREGA Lokpal and what are their responsibilities?

Lokpal is an autonomous body which does not fall under the purview of Judiciary, Executive, and Legislature. These independent organizations are set up to overview the implementation of government schemes. Under MNREGA, Lokpal is set to ensure the implementation of the scheme according to the Act and supervising the proper utilisation of government resources allocated for the scheme. It also acts as a platform to address grievances and unjust practices associated with the implementation of the scheme.

Q- Was India really able to alleviate poverty with the help of MNREGA?

Some critics claim that MNREGA hasn’t helped people to come out of poverty. This claim has been substantiated with numbers like, during the first few years of the scheme, India was struck by drought. Under such circumstances, the government claimed that they have generated 2.84 billion workdays. But when the survey was conducted by the NSS, it turned out that only 1.47 billion workdays were created. The government couldn’t even verify the days generated because they did not have any records of the workdays generated.
The payments that were given out for the workers and which were meant for the poor didn’t actually go to the poor people. A leakage was recorded in the payment system which resulted in rampant corruption. Around 58% of the payments were given to the not-poor people.
Another survey which was conducted by Maryland-NCAER, claims that around 75% of the jobs generated under MNREGA were given to non-deserving/not-poor people. In 2011-2012, MNREGA was able to reduce poverty by only 1.1% which is lower as compared to previous years.
However, despite these shortfalls, MGNREGA has led to the growth of the rural economy and has provided hundreds of households with a decent lifestyle.

Read More about NREGA scheme the difference between NREGA, MNREGA and MGNREGA etc.

CA Abhishek Soni
CA Abhishek Soni

Abhishek Soni is a Chartered Accountant by profession & entrepreneur by passion. He is the co-founder & CEO of Tax2win is amongst the top 25 emerging startups of Asia and authorized ERI by the Income Tax Department. In the past, he worked in EY and comes with wide industry experience from telecom, retail to manufacturing to entertainment where he has handled various national and international assignments.