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NREGA in Orissa: Back to Basics?. NREGA: Evaluation Criteria. Compliance with Act/Guidelines Quality of process (e.g. participation) Realisation of workers’ entitlements Socio-economic impact. NREGA: Basic Entitlements. Work on demand Unemployment allowance Minimum wages

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nrega evaluation criteria
NREGA: Evaluation Criteria
  • Compliance with Act/Guidelines
  • Quality of process (e.g. participation)
  • Realisation of workers’ entitlements
  • Socio-economic impact
nrega basic entitlements
NREGA: Basic Entitlements
  • Work on demand
  • Unemployment allowance
  • Minimum wages
  • Payment within 15 days
  • Worksite facilities
  • No gender discrimination
  • Prompt redressal
the field survey
The Field Survey
  • Date: 3-12 October 2007
  • Districts: Balangir, Boudh, Kalahandi
  • Sample Frame:
    • Two Blocks per Districts
    • Five Gram Panchayats in each Block
    • One worksite in each GP (i.e. 30 worksites)
part 1
Part 1

Selected Survey Findings

awareness levels are still very low
NREGA being in force 31

Right to apply for work 100

Right to unemployment allowance 90

Right to minimum wage 55

Mandatory worksite facilities 93

MRs to be kept at worksite 100

Awareness Levels are Still Very Low

Proportion (%) of sample worksites where “few” or “none” of the labourers were aware of:

incomplete job card distribution
Incomplete Job Card Distribution
  • Initial distribution restricted to BPL households in some areas
  • Confusion on BPL issue persists
  • Households with no ration card are often excluded
  • Poor arrangements for issuing job cards on a continuous basis
job card distribution some good news
Job Card Distribution: Some Good News
  • Most people did not have to pay any bribes or charges for the job card.
  • However, about half of the applicants were charged for the photu.
work on demand
Work on Demand?

Did most labourers employed at this worksite get employed in response to an application for work?

YES 7%

NO 93%

timeliness of wage payments a glass half full
Timeliness of Wage Payments: A Glass Half-Full

Proportion of sample worksites where wages had been paid:

  • within 15 days 41
  • within one month 82
payment of minimum wages half empty
Proportion (%) of worksites where:

“All” or “most” labourers earned

the minimum wage 48

“Very few” or “none” of the labourers

earned the minimum wage 41

Payment of Minimum Wages: Half Empty!
awareness of the schedule of rates
Awareness of the schedule of rates

Positive feature: Growing awareness of the schedule of rates (e.g. basic rate for soft soil).

Shortcoming: Awareness of the details remains very low (e.g. lift and lead, dressing).

work measurement plenty of issues
Work measurement: Plenty of issues
  • Low awareness of schedule of rates.
  • Shortage of technical staff.
  • Fiction of individual measurement by Junior Engineers.
  • Ground reality: rough measurements by PEO/VLL, no official record.
  • Lack of transparency all the way, opening the door to cheating.
no worksite facilities
No Worksite Facilities

Proportion (%) of worksites that had:

  • Drinking water 39
  • First-aid kit 7
  • Child care facility 3
participatory planning a long way to go
Proportion (%) of sample GPs that

had a shelf of projects: 46

Proportion (%) of worksites that

were selected from a shelf of projects: 30

Participatory Planning: A Long Way to go
productivity of works
Productivity of works

Economic usefulness of the work, in the assessment of survey team:

“Very useful” or “quite useful” 59

“Not particularly useful” 37

“Useless” 4

impact on hunger poverty and migration
Impact on hunger, poverty and migration
  • Clear evidence of enhanced food security among NREGA workers.
  • NREGA often helps to repay debts.
  • Limited impact on migration: too little work and not predictable.
  • However, many people said that if there is work in the village they won’t migrate.
  • Most labourers prepared to work 100 days, even more if possible.
summary incipient achievements
Summary: Incipient achievements
  • Payment of minimum wages.
  • Timely wage payments.
  • Creation of productive assets.
  • Where work is available, NREGA is a lifeline for the rural poor.

Also: There have been major changes over time, with much scope for more.

summary major concerns
Summary: Major Concerns
  • Low levels of awareness.
  • Incomplete distribution of job cards.
  • Low level of employment generation.
  • Application process not in place.
  • Cryptic work measurement.
  • Gross violations of guidelines.
  • Absence of participatory planning.
  • Breakdown of transparency safeguards!
part 2
Part 2

Transparency and Corruption

the traditional system of corruption
The Traditional “System” of Corruption
  • Contractor Raj
  • Dual records (kachha/pacca)
  • “PC system”
  • Contractor-politicians nexus
nrega major transparency safeguards
NREGA: Major Transparency Safeguards
  • Contractors are banned
  • Transparency of muster rolls
  • Job cards
  • Worksite boards
  • Vigilance committees
  • Social audits
  • Monitoring and Information System

There are more…!

breakdown of transparency safeguards
Breakdown of Transparency Safeguards
  • Contractors are alive (and well?)
  • Muster rolls nowhere to be seen
  • Poor job card maintenance
  • Brazen “adjustments” in the records
  • Inactive Gram Sabhas
  • Vulnerability to local collusion
survival of contractors
Survival of Contractors

Proportion of worksites where

evidence of contractor

involvement was found: 56

dual records continue
Dual Records Continue
  • Muster rolls are never at the worksite.
  • Kachha-pacca records are maintained (both MRs and MBs).
  • Sometimes labourers are asked to sign blank MRs “in advance”.
pc system persists
BDO 2%

JE 5%

AE 3%

Block staff 1%

PEO 5%

GP Secy 3%

Misc 3%


PC System Persists

“Percentages” paid by contractors in Balangir:

job cards or joke cards
Job Cards or Joke Cards?
  • Faulty design, e.g. there is no column for wage payments!
  • Job card virtually impossible to read.
  • Cards often kept by GP functionaries.
  • Poor job card maintenance if any.

Outcome: Job cards are virtually useless.

poor job card maintenance
Poor Job Card Maintenance
  • Proportion (%) of worksites where

job card maintenance was

incomplete or irregular: 71

  • Proportion (%) of worksites where

job card entries were made

at the time of wage payments: 7

muster rolls adjustment or fraud
Muster Rolls:“Adjustment” or Fraud?
  • Workers without job cards are often “clubbed” with others in the MRs.
  • Wages of several team members are often entered in one person’s name.
  • Fudging of MRs is common: fake names, inflated days, etc.
  • Badhigam: Fake muster roll!
elusive worksite boards
Elusive Worksite Boards
  • Proportion (%) of worksites that

had a “worksite board” 59

  • Proportion (%) of boards

that mentioned the wage rate 55

gram sabhas still in infancy
Gram Sabhas: Still in Infancy

Good news: Gram Sabhas have started discussing NREGA. However:

  • Poor attendance (no “quorum”).
  • Dominated by a few bigwigs.
  • Manipulation of proceedings.
  • No social audits.
vigilance committees are asleep
Vigilance Committees are asleep

Proportion (%) of sample worksites:

  • With Vigilance Committee 56
  • With an “active” VC 20
  • Where VC has prepared

a report or statement 8

bottom line non verifiable system and massive leakages
Bottom line: Non-verifiable System and Massive Leakages
  • The records are virtually impossible to verify due to faulty design, incomplete maintenance, rampant adjustments, etc
  • Proportion (%) of employment days recorded in the MRs that were “confirmed” by labourers: 60%
how much embezzlement
How Much Embezzlement?

“Guestimate” of leakages, based on

indirect evidence from the PC system:

  • Total PC outlay 22 %
  • Profit of contractors 10 %
  • TOTAL 32 %

If anything, this may be on the low side.

part 3
Part 3


(see Interim Report at

a success story kultajore
A “success story”: Kultajore
  • Work was selected by the Gram Sabha
  • Job cards well maintained
  • Workers earn the minimum wage
  • Wages are paid within 15 days
  • Worksite facilities are in place
  • Active Vigilance Committee
  • No sign of corruption at sample worksite
  • NREGA is highly valued by the villagers