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 accordingly. 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.