With an eye on the key state elections scheduled for later this year and the general polls next year,the central government is trying to make its flagship rural job guarantee scheme more accessible by enabling workers to register for work over phone. And since the service caters to a largely illiterate group,Interactive Voice Response System and voice-enabled interactions will also be introduced.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act promises a hundred days of employment a year to each rural household. The scheme,introduced in February 2006,is believed to have helped the UPA return to power with a decisive mandate in 2009.
In a May 31 advisory,the rural development ministry asked states to ensure demand for work under the scheme does not go unregistered and suggested enabling registration through kiosks,phone,IVRS as well as sources such as anganwadi workers,teachers,self help groups,revenue officials and Common Service Centres.
The ministry has also told states to provide dated receipts of applications to ensure job seekers are paid unemployment allowance if they dont get work within 15 days. Refusal to accept work applications or provide receipts by officials will be considered a violation of the Act.
To make workers fully aware about above-stated mediums and sources for registration of work under MGNREGA,state would initiate appropriate IEC campaigns including wall writings for its wide dissemination, the advisory adds.
The latest measures have come after the CAG audit of MGNREGA revealed that per rural household employment under the scheme declined from 54 days in 2009-10 to 43 days in 2011-12.
It also found that a large number of beneficiaries was neither provided work on demand nor paid the mandatory unemployment allowance.