In its bid to check the "misuse" of funds under MNREGA, the Rural Development Ministry has removed as many as 87 lakh job cards from the beneficiaries list, Union Minister Ram Kripal Yadav said recently.
The Rural Development Ministry had started a cleansing drive to check whether funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) were reaching the genuine beneficiaries, and in that drive it was found that about 87 lakh job cards were duplicate or fake or the beneficiaries had died, he said.
About 63 percent of 12.49 crore job cards issued under MNREGA have so far been verified, the minister said. It was found that the cards were made in the name of the beneficiaries who did not exist, Yadav said, adding that the work was allocated and amount released to such dubious claimants.
The flagship programme of NREGA is a demand-driven employment scheme. Not less than 100 days of employment is provided to registered workers upon receipt of their demand. These workers are given job cards that are linked with their Aadhaar numbers and bank accounts.
NREGA provides supplementary means of livelihood to people in rural areas, primarily during lean periods.
The Centre has also announced additional employment over and above 100 days per household to upto 150 days in notified drought-affected districts in various states of the country. Assets created under NREGA include works related to natural resource management such as water conservation, land development and irrigation. Besides these, dams, irrigation channels, check dams, ponds, wells and Aanganwadis are also built under the scheme.
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (or, NREGA No 42) was later renamed as the 'Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act' (or, MGNREGA), is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the 'right to work'. It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
Starting from 200 districts on 2 February, 2006, the NREGA covered all the districts of India from April 1, 2008. The statute is hailed by the government as "the largest and most ambitious social security and public works programme in the world". In its World Development Report 2014, the World Bank termed it a "stellar example of rural development"