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Introduction

Even after seven decades of independence, India is still considered to be a land of villages as the majority of our population live in the villages. The employment opportunities in such villages are still poor and hence it results in mass migration of the citizens in rural India to metro cities in search of employment opportunities. The Government of India has tried to remedy this situation by trying to provide employment opportunities and launched an Act for the same in this regard.

This Act is NREGA, which stands for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. This scheme was originally proposed at the time of Prime Minister P V Narshimha Rao. The Act was finally approved and implemented in the year 2005. It was later renamed to be Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). This Act was launched with a view to especially for the rural population of our country.

The main objectives of the Act include providing employment opportunities provisions to the people in the rural parts of the country. Find all about NREGA on this page.

Objectives of NREGA

NREGA or MNREGA is one of the biggest and most successful and helpful schemes launched by the Government of India. This scheme provides for creating employment opportunities in the rural sector and to utilize the labour force for essential infrastructure projects.

The details of the objectives of NREGA Act of the Government of India are mentioned below.

  • Generating at least 100 days of paid employment for the rural part of the country in case of every worker who volunteers for unskilled labour.
  • Strengthening the livelihood in rural India
  • Proactively ensuring social inclusion in the rural part of the country.
  • Reduction in the migration of the rural masses to the urban areas of the country
  • Creating good infrastructure in the rural parts of the country.

Eligibility for NREGA

NREGA or the MGNREGA Act of the Government of India is applicable pan-India for the benefit of the citizens in the remotest parts of the country. However, there are certain preset conditions set by the government for being eligible to avail the benefits under the scheme. These eligibility conditions ensure that all the beneficiaries of the rural sector of the country get equal opportunity of employment and the scheme can achieve its true  objectives. The details of the eligibility under the Act are mentioned below.

  • The prime condition to be eligible is to be a citizen of India and reside in the rural part of the country. This means that if the applicant is from the urban or semi-urban part of the country they are not eligible for any benefits under the scheme.
  • The applicant has to be of minimum 18 years of age at the time of seeking employment under the scheme.
  • The applicant has to volunteer for unskilled labour in the rural part of the country.
  • The applicant has to be part of the local household of the area.

The above eligibility criteria ensures that the scheme can be able to reach maximum number of beneficiaries for the rural parts of the country at the same time work toward making such areas better.

Features of NREGA

NREGA is one of the most successful employment Acts launched by the Government over the past decades. Following are the features of the Act that make it very popular among the masses of the country.

  • The Act provides wage employment to the applicant within 15 days of making an application with the NREGA Portal.
  • Beneficiaries get the benefit of unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought by the applicant.
  • The wages are received by the beneficiary within 15 days of completing the work
  • The priority while providing the minimum 100 days of work is given to the women applicants so at least one third of the beneficiaries under the scheme are women.
  • The government provides with many compensations and allowances in case of any discrepancies or issues with the wage structure and disbursement.
  • Incentives are also provided by the state government under the scheme to cover material or labour cost to promote employment opportunities in the rural sector
  • The scheme provides the workers with decent work opportunities at the same time such employment opportunities being environmental friendly.
  • MGNREGA or NREGA has the feature of mandatory social audits. This promotes and ensures the transparency and accountability at every stage of the scheme.
  • The Gram Panchayats can take up a huge variety of works under the purview of the scheme.
  • The scheme also ensures the safety of the beneficiaries and provides them with food, water, medical aid as well as child care (crèches) for children less than the age of 5 years present on the work site.
  • The Act states that the employment opportunity has to be provided within 5 km of the village of the beneficiary. In case the work site is beyond such distance, the beneficiaries are entitled to an extra 10% of the wage in order to meet the transportation and other expenses.

Area of focus under the Act

The Act focuses on mainly creating and developing good infrastructure in the rural areas of the country. Following are the core focus areas under the Act.

  • Working towards Natural Resource Management.
  • Creating community or individual structures for the poor and weaker section of the society.
  • Improving the basic infrastructure in the rural areas like roads, sanitary conditions, rain water harvesting, promotion of agriculture, improvement in the productivity of the rural land whether agricultural or non-agricultural, developing a proper waste management system.

NREGA Job Card

NREGA Job Card is a unique card that is issued to every beneficiary registered under the Act. This card is issued by the Gram Panchayat post effective registration under the MGNREGA. This card can be used to identify the beneficiary under the scheme and can act as the proof of enrollment under the scheme. This card has all the relevant details of the beneficiary like name, address, photograph, mobile number, etc. NREGA Job Card can also be used as a KYC document for various purposes like opening a new bank account, post office savings account, or in case of any other relevant Government Schemes like Pradhan Mantri Jan Awas Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, etc.

Application Process for NREGA Job Card

The application process for The NREGA Job Card is an offline process. This is due to lack of effective connectivity in the remotest parts of the country as well as lack of knowledge of the online set up on part of the beneficiaries. The Government has therefore provided that the forms for NREGA Job Card can be availed from the Local Gram Panchayat Office. Alternatively, applicants can also download the application form from the official website of this scheme under the following link

www[dot]nrega[dot]nic[dot]in

The form is available for download at this link free of cost. Following are the details that will have to be provided by the applicant for such NREGA Job Cards.

  • Name of the applicant
  • Age of the Applicant
  • Address of the applicant
  • Gender of the applicant
  • Village Name
  • Gram Panchayat Name
  • Recent Photograph of the Applicant
  • Caste or category details (SC/ ST/ IAY/LR)
  • Signature or thumb impression of the applicant

Apart from the duly filled application form, the applicant will have to submit certain documents that will act as a proof of the details mentioned in the application form.

After submitting the application form along with the above documents, the beneficiary will be granted the NREGA Job Card within 15 days of date of submission if all the details are duly verified and approved.

NREGA Job Card Details and Features

NREGA Job Card issued through the above process contains the following details of the beneficiary. These details can be accessed through the NREGA application or portal.

  • Photograph of the applicant
  • Personal details like name, gender, age, father’s name, address, Bank account or Post Office Account number.
  • Employment details
  • Employment record
  • Allowance paid on account of unemployment.

As mentioned above, the Government provides for loss of wage under the scheme. This is known as the unemployment allowance and is paid to the beneficiaries in case they do not get employment within 15 days of seeking the same.

FAQs – NREGA

1. What are the various benefits of NREGA?

NREGA is a social welfare scheme focusing on the rural parts of the country. Following are some of the advantages of the scheme.

  • Guaranteed paid employment for the citizens in the rural parts of the country.
  • Increase in the power and responsibility of Gram Panchayats.
  • Increasing the development in the rural parts of the country which will eventually. reduce the mass migration to urban areas and reduce the burden of such urban areas.
  • Better usage of underutilized or unutilized human resources available in the rural areas.
  • Reduction in wastages and increase in optimum utilization of rural resources like water, land, soil, etc.
  • Reducing the bridge between the urban and rural population and promoting social inclusion.

2. How is the payment under the NREGA Act made to the beneficiaries?

NREGA provides monetary benefit in the form of wages based on the work done. These wages are credited to the bank account of the card holder within 15 days of seeking employment or the job performed. This bank account is the same account that was provided by the beneficiary at the time of applying under the scheme. In very few cases, the payments are made in cash to the Gram Panchayat who in turn will disburse the same to the eligible beneficiaries. Such cash payments are only in case there is no post office or banking system in the rural area of the beneficiary. Such cash payments can be done only after proper communication and permission of the State Government and the Ministry.

3. Does the NREGA Job Card contain details of the employment of the beneficiary?

Yes. NREGA Job Card contains all the details of the beneficiary including the employment details and the wages received as well as the unemployment allowance received if any.

4. Can a person from urban areas apply under the NREGA scheme?

No. NREA Scheme is applicable only for the rural population of the country.

5. What is the minimum number of days for which the employment is guaranteed under the NREGA Act?

NREGA Act provides a guaranteed employment for 100 days to the eligible rural population for unskilled labour.

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