GS Mains Model Question & Answer: In the light of completion
of 10 years of MGNREGS, discuss its achievements and limitations.
Q. In the light of completion of 10 years of MGNREGS,
discuss its achievements and limitations. (12.5 Marks)
(General Studies Mains Paper III- Economy: development and employment)
Model Answer :
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), which
was initially called National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005, completed ten
years of its implementation on 2 Feb 2016.
- A recent Planning Commission evaluation of the MGNREGA has questioned
the effectiveness of projects implemented under the Act in boosting
productivity and creating assets.
- Planning Commission highlighted the dearth of technical and professional
support for implementing projects under MGNREGA, delays in payments to
workers, and issues of corruption and leakages.
- Payments to workers are being delayed as there is a late measurement of
work. It also says only 19% of the 850,000 differently abled people
registered for the scheme have got work under NREGA.
- Another issue is that of fake muster rolls and bills being generated,
so-called elite groups within the workers capture most of the job cards.
- There was corruption in implementing the programmes and no real asset
was being created.
Changes made to the scheme by NDA Government
Despite initial criticism, when the NDA government decided to
tweak the scheme, several economists had sent petitions to PM Modi, requesting
him not to dilute it. However, the government only made some significant changes
to it like tweaking the labour-material ratio and restricting it to only
The NDA government altered the labour-material ratio for MGNREGA from 60:40
However, what had left the state governments worrying was the
lack of requisite funds needed to sustain the scheme. According to the state
governments, rationing of funds and in the absence of refunds on their
liabilities to the tune of Rs 5.92 lakh crore, was hitting the scheme.
The government also approved changes to the payment system, initiating
payments directly to the bank accounts of workers.
As per the scheme, the wage component of MGNREGA will be
released following the State Employment Guarantee Fund window directly to the
workers' accounts based on a fund transfer order generated by states'
implementing agencies in accordance with procedures prescribed by Rural
Even now, the scheme faces criticism over its functioning.
For instance, recently social activist Aruna Roy filed a petition before the
Supreme Court alleging "glaring irregularities" in the implementation of the
MGNREGA. She suggested timely payment of wages, timely compensation and regular
Overall, the scheme has been regarded as a success with the sheer amount of
employment it has managed to create in its ten years.