The case in brief
In 2005 the Government of India passed the National Rural Employment Guarantee
Act (NREGA), guaranteeing the country’s rural poor the right to work and to security of
livelihood. The government promised to provide 100 days of unskilled work per year
to every poor rural family needing employment. Not only could a person receive paid
employment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), but once
they demanded work, they would become eligible for compensation if paid employment
were not provided within a 15-day period.
Under NREGS, the gram panchayat
prepares a list of public works projects
fitting the stipulations of the law.
Administrative and technical approval for
the list comes from the janpad panchayat.
Together with program officers from the
zilla parishad, a labor budget is prepared,
Implementation of NREGS has been plagued by bureaucratic glitches and riddled with
corruption. In the first two years of the Scheme only slightly more than half of those
registered for the program applied for work, and only 10 percent of those applying were
offered the full 100 days promised. As a result of a range of such problems, funds
allocated for NREGS were significantly under-spent.
covering those who might need work
The NREGS is implemented by the following system of governance
roll of people who work, the materials
during the year.
Funds are allocated
The village secretary maintains a muster
used and work done. This is submitted
The district level (zilla parishad)
each week to the block level for technical
evaluation. A payment order or check is
The block (20 to 100 villages) level (janpad panchayat)
Elected executive bodies of people’s representatives at the village level
(gram panchayat). This council is accountable to the general body of the village,
known as the gram sabha.
subsequently issued to the bank account
of the gram panchayat, which in turn
issues a payment order for the bank to
transfer wages into the bank accounts of
the individual workers.