People’s body gram panchayat will be the new administrator for implementing the world's biggest social security programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee, instead of government officials.
In a new avatar, the government has approved new guarantees under MGNREGA including registration for job through a call centres, mandatory payment of wages within 15 days at the doorstep and providing dedicated staff at gram panchayat to implement and monitor the scheme.The National Advisory Council in its last meeting, before its president Sonia Gandhi left for attending to her ailment, has asked the government to reform MGNREGA to make it more inclusive and effective.
Working on NAC recommendations, a blueprint was prepared by Planning Commission member Mihir Shah was approved by Rural Development minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday.
"The new MGNREGA will remove deficiencies from the existing programme and gram panchayats infuse new life," Shah, the architect of the revamp, said.
The new MGNREGA will provide unemployment allowance if the government fails to provide work within fifteen days. Refusal to accept application will be a new offence under MGNREGA Act. To take away power of block level officer to register, the government has decided to set up call centers where villagers can call and register for work.
"In case of mobile telephones the system should be made convenient to illiterate workers and must include Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) and voice-enabled interactions," the reform document states.
The government wants to pay wages within 15 days a must condition. In addition, the gram panchayats will also have the power to disburse half of the wages to workers.