ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tyranny of MGNREGA’s Monitoring System

Tyranny of MGNREGA’s Monitoring System

The management information system of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 was hailed as a pioneering tool for enhancing transparency and accountability. However, it is now being used with impunity to centralise the programme and violate workers’ legal entitlements, causing frequent disruptions on the ground and opening new avenues for corruption in the programme.

When the central government introduced an online Management Information System (MIS) for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005, it was welcomed as an exemplary step towards proactive disclosure of information on the programme. The MIS is a social auditor’s dream come true; it contains details of workers registered with the programme, works sanctioned for implementation, payments made and a wealth of other information. The MIS also provides a variety of useful analyses, such as the participation of various groups in the workforce, the average number of days worked by households and the composition of works implemented in a given financial year. Data is available for all the states and union territories, disaggregated at the state, district, block and gram panchayat level.

At the time of introduction of the MIS, few would have imagined that it will eventually become a tool for centralisation of MGNREGA by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD). The act itself envisaged its decentralised management with every state formulating and implementing its own employment guarantee “scheme.” The excessive control wielded over MGNREGA through the MIS is preventing states from executing the programme as per their requirements and capabilities, but more worryingly, is also causing gross violations of workers’ legal entitlements. This article discusses how this is happening based on observations in Jharkhand, but similar issues are likely to be occurring in other states as well.

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Updated On : 21st Sep, 2017

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