What is MGNREGA or Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

MGNREGA or Mahatma Gandhi national rural employment guarantee Act 2005  is an act to provide legal guarantee of 100 working days of wage employment to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work in every financial year. Under MNREGA the members will get a minimum wage rate which is notified for agricultural labor in the State until the Central Government notifies a minimum wage rate. This rate, in any case shall not be less than Rs. 60 per day.


MGNREGA is a step towards the right to work, as an aspect of the fundamental right to live with dignity. It is a recognition that the state cannot retreat from rural development and is responsible to ensure food and livelihood security for the masses.

NREGS is a “demand driven” programme and employment is to be provided to eligible workers on demand, within 15 days.

  • Step 1 Registration
  • Step 2 Verification
  • Step 3 Issuing Job Cards
  • Step 4 Application

Unemployment allowances: If Employment is not provided within 15 days of receipt of application, the worker shall be entitled to a daily Unemployment allowance.

The theme of government approach had been to merge old schemes to introduce ones while retaining the basic objective of providing additional wage employment including unskilled manual work and also to create durable assets and improving food security in rural areas through public works with special safeguard for the weaker sections. The major responsibility of implementation was also transferred to Panchayati Raj.

When did MGNREGA came into effect ?

MGNREGA came into effect on February 2, 2006. The scheme is different from the earlier wage employment programmes in that it provides legal guarantee of 100 days of work to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work and if an applicant is not provided employment within 15 days then he/she shall be entitled to unemployment allowance.

Criticism of MGNREGA

The scheme is giving employment to the unskilled labour but still there are some problems. People are not aware of the schemes by government. The contractor at the village level makes them bully and pays them low which leads to their exploitation. Also the scheme is not managed at the local level and hence people are not getting employment for at least for 100 days.

Apart from this one of the biggest criticism which is received by this scheme is lack of skill development. This is due to the nature of work provided to people under MGNREGA, the work provided is of unskilled labour which do not have much advantage with experience as even with the experience the output will remain more or less the same.

For more details check official website of MGNREGA

Read about: BPL Identification in India, Human Poverty Index