Background Material for the Workshop on April 10th , ’07, of the DPCs of the additional 113 districts notified  under NREGA on April 1,2007


1.     NREGA:  Objective


The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) was  notified on September, 2005. The Act provides a legal Guarantee of 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every rural household  whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work  at the minimum wage rate notified for agricultural labour prescribed in the State or else an unemployment allowance.  The objective of the Act is to supplement wage employment opportunities in rural areas and in the process also build up durable assets.


2.     Coverage


The Act will extend to the entire country within five years of its notification.  In the first phase, the Act was notified on February 2nd 2006 in 200 districts.  In the second phase, the Act is to be notified in 130 additional districts.  The list of 113 districts has been tabled in the Parliament. These districts have been notified under NREGA wef April 1, 2007


3.  Notification of a district under NREGA


.    For the Act to become effective in these additional districts, a separate notification will be issued by the Government of India, and the legal processes delineated in the Act will come into force from the date of that notification.    The notification of the Act in the additional districts will be with effect from April 1, 2007.  Once it is notified in a district all other wage employment programmes (SGRY) will subsume in it.   









4.   Key Statutory  Processes of NREGA


The notification of the Act will imply that its legal provisions and processes will become operational.  Key statutory processes of the Act are summarized below:


I  Processes related to the Workers application for Job Card and Employment


4.1.)   Application for Registration: 


A household in the notified district will need to apply for registration to the local Gram Panchayat. Application for registration may be in a form prescribed, or a plain paper.  Oral applications may also be submitted. 


4..2) Verification of the Registration Application: The Gram Panchayat will verify the application on the basis of:


 i)  local domicile (ii) All household members applying for registration are adult.

  No discrimination is made in registration  in terms of caste, creed, gender.  NREGA is not confined to BPL families.


4.3 ) Issue of Job Card:


i) The Gram Panchayat will issue a Job Card to the household as a whole. This should normally be within 15 days of registration application.


ii) Each Job Card  will bear a unique registration  number for a household.  The voter  identity card number should also be entered on the Job Card.


iii)  The format of the Job card must capture  at least the essential details of information indicated in the National Guidelines. Job Cards must have space for entering vital data that must be regularly entered that includes: 

                                    - Unique registration number

                                    - Days of employment demanded

                                    - Days worked

                                    - Wage Amount paid

                                   -Unemployment Allowance paid


iv) Job Card will bear the photograph of all  adult members of the household willing to work under NREGA.


v) The Job Card with photograph is free of cost to the beneficiary.  Its cost is to be borne on the programme cost.

vi) The Job Card has to be in the custody of the registered household.


vii) Job Cards issued will be entered in a Job Card register in the Gram Panchayat.



4.3 )  Application for Employment:


i)   A household that has a Job Card  has the right to submit a written application for employment to the gram panchayat


ii) The applicant may chose the  time and duration when  employment is sought.  The application must state the day from which employment is sought and for how long. The application has to be for a minimum of 15 days of employment


II  Processes related to the Allocation of Employment


4.4. Acknowledgement of application for employment.


  The Gram Panchayat will issue a Dated  Receipt of the written application for employment.


4.5 ) Allocation of employment within 15 days of demand 


i)  The Gram Panchayat  will allocate employment  within 15 days of application for work or from the date from which  employment is sought, which ever is later. 


ii)  Employment should normally be within 5 kilometers radius of the village where the applicant reside.  If it is more than that, then it must still be within the block and 10% of the wage rate as extra wages will be paid.


iii)   Intimation of work provided has to be sent  in writing to the Applicant and by public notice at the Village Panchayat office.


4.6)  At least one-third of the beneficiaries who are provided employment shall be women  who have registered and requested for work


4.7) Payment of  Unemployment Allowance.


  If Employment is not provided within 15 days, daily unemployment allowance, in cash has to be paid. States will pay the Unemployment Allowance at their own cost.


III)   Processes related to Planning of works to allocate employment


4.7)  The instrument for providing employment are works selected from the list of permissible works under Schedule I of  the Act.

i)     Permissible  works are as follows:

-Water Conservation

-Drought Proofing( including plantation and afforestation)

-Flood Protection

-Land Development

-Minor Irrigation, horticulture and land development on the land of SC/ST/ -BPL/IAY and Land reform beneficiaries

-Rural connectivity

  ii) 60:40 ratio of wages and materials has to be maintained and this may be maintained at the district level.  

 iii) Preparing a shelf of projects

a).  Each District will prepare a Perspective Plan.  Guidelines for preparing Perspective Plans have been issued separately. 

b) Till the Perspective Plans are formulated, an annual shelf of Projects should be prepared by the Districts.  The  district administration will ensure that   each village  has a shelf of projects  adequate to meet the estimated demand for employment for 100 days in a year

      c) NREGA is open to all households in a village.  But experience has shown that mainly the poor households come for employment under NREGA.  Therefore, the number of works that may be required in a year in a village may be estimated by taking the village average of BPL families and deriving the total  person days that will be generated by providing 100 days of employment to all these families. The number of works to be taken up may be planned for one and a half times that number of person days.  

d) Each village must have an approved shelf of projects of  at least five works  with technical and financial estimates.  The plot numbers of the sites where works  are to be executed should be   mentioned, so that each work has a unique location code.

e)  Outcomes expected from should indicate estimated benefits in terms of person days and physical improvement envisaged ( land/water conservation etc) and what are the benefits to the  community from it.

f) The shelf of projects at the village level will  comprise small projects that can be quickly executed within one working season

g) Priority will be given to works that can be executed by the Gram Panchayat.  Only  such works that involve more than one GP may be taken up at the Intermediate Panchayat level.

h)   It must be ensured that such works are not taken up that can only be done through the use of contractors 

i) Technical estimates to be displayed at all work-sites in simple local language.

j) Progress report by Implementing Agency to local vigilance committee

     k)  Asset register at GP with unique number to each work to prevent duplication has to be maintained


     iv)  The Planning process as outlined in the Act, gives primacy to the     recommendations of the Gram Sabha with a coordination and approval role to the PRIS.  The State Government will ensure that the shelf of projects are formulated by following the process indicated below

a) Gram Sabhas are convened to  discuss and recommend list of permissible works to be taken up within a year.  The number of works recommended should be adequate to meet estimated demand for employment for a year and a half

b)   Gram Panchayats consolidate the Gram Sabha recommendations into a village Plan and forward to the Block Programme Officer.

c)     At the Block level, all GP proposals are  consolidated and approved by the Intermediate Panchayat.  The Village Plan sent by the GP cannot be altered at this level and its priorities, if they are as per the Act must be maintained.  Only such proposals that are inter GP may be included in the list of works. 

   d) The Block Plan  will be forwarded to the District Programme Coordinator

e) The District Programme Coordinator will consolidate Block Proposals and proposals received from other implementing agencies for inclusion in the shelf of projects to be approved by the District Panchayat

  The priorities of the Gram Sabha have to be maintained.  

  f)  Displaying the list of approved works at the GP.

  This will serve the dual purpose of transparency in the selection of works as well as communication to the local workforce that work is available locally and will help in generating demand


IV  Processes related to the execution of Work


4.8    Execution of Work


i)  At least  50 %  of the works has to be allotted to Gram Panchayats.  More may be given to them.

ii)  If line departments are identified as implementing agencies, then they will have to be trained in undertaking labour intensive works and the maintenance of muster rolls for each work.

iii) Numbered Muster rolls should be issued for each work by Programme Officer (this is a check on false muster rolls).

iv) Muster rolls must mention Job Card numbers of workers (this is a check on false names and contractors).

v) Details of days worked, amount worked and measured and amount of wages paid have to be mentioned on the Muster rolls.

vi) Maintenance of the muster roll should be by the executing agency..

vii) The entries of the muster roll must be correspondingly recorded in the job cards of the workers

viii) No Kutchcha muster roll is allowed to be used.

ix) Muster rolls should be read out on the work site during regular measurement to prevent bogus records and payment of wages below prescribed levels


x.)  Contractors and machinery are banned.

4.9 ) Measurement and Payment of wages


i)  Schedule of rural rates based on work time and motion studies should be formulated for measurement of work out turn.


ii) Wages are to be paid according to  minimum wages as prescribed under the Minimum Wages Act 1948 for agricultural labourers in the State  unless the Centre notifies a wage rate which will  not be less than Rs 60/ per day


iii) Disbursement of wages is to be done on weekly basis but not beyond a fortnight.


iv) wages are to be paid only as cash


v) Job Cards will  record  employment demanded, provided number of days worked   & payment received


4.10) Work site facilities have to be provided as per Schedule II of the Act.



V  Processes related to transparency in implementation



4.11) Transparency, Public accountability, Social Audit are to be ensured through institutional mechanisms at all levels.


i) Gram Sabhas will conduct social audits of all works taken up within Gram Panchayat.  The Gram Panchayat will make available all records for this social audit

ii) All accounts and records relating to the Scheme are  to be made available for public scrutiny and any person desirous of obtaining a copy of such records may be provided such copies on demand and after paying specified fee.


iii)  A copy of muster rolls of each work  has to be made available in the offices of Gram Panchayat and the Programme Officer [at the Block level] for inspection by any person interested after paying specified fee.


iv) The Programme Officer is responsible for grievance redressal and disposal of complaints.



5.  NREGA Design as a Paradigm Shift  from other wage employment programmes


  NREGA marks a paradigm shift from  other wage employment programmes, and its difference from  SGRY needs to be understood so that the district may not repeat SGRY processes for NREGA.  This difference is briefly indicated below:


Design of NREGA compared with other Wage Employment       Programmes



Other Wage Employment Programmes




Statute. Programme operates under a statute and has to conform to the legal framework and processes



Works and infrastructure

Employment generation


No prescribed process for starting approved works

Legally prescribed Processes

-application for registration

-issue of  job card

-written application for employment

-issue dated receipt of employment application



Supply led.  Works are opened by implementing agencies and then labour is engaged

Demand-based. Application by  Wage seekers for employment and then works are opened. Wage seekers demand is necessary for opening works


Any one can be engaged as labour

Only locally domiciled families that apply for registration and are issued Job Cards can apply for employment

Duration of  Employment

Dependent on duration of work by implementing agency

Legal Guarantee of as many days of employment as a job card holding family applies for, subject to  maximum 100 days 

Nature of works

Any work

No 60:40 ratio of wage -material

60:40 ratio of wages and material

Permissible works:


-Water Conservation

-Drought Proofing( including plantation and afforestation)

-Flood Protection

-Land Development

-Minor Irrigation, horticulture and land development on the land of SC/ST/ BPL/IAY and Land reform beneficiaries

-Rural connectivity





-Social audit

-Information in public domain




-Job Cards with unique number have to be given to  local families that seek registration

- Written applications from job card holders demanding  employment have to received

-The Demand has to be formally acknowledged through dated receipts

 -Employment within 15 days of demand has to be provided

Only authenticated Muster rolls issued by the Programme Officer to be used.

-All entries of

Records at GP/Block levels:  Job Cards, Employment, Assets, Funds

 -Liability of the  State Governments  to pay an unemployment allowance at their cost, if they fail to provide employment within fifteen days of demand


Financial Support

25% State share

75% Centre share

Fixed Allocation

Fixed share to each PRI tier

Demand Based. No fixed allocation to any PRI.  Only 50% of works approved to be executed by Gram Panchayat.

Incentive structure in the release of  Central share

Central Funds are released on the basis of Demand for employment received in a district and the districts provision of  guaranteed   employment within 15 days. 

90% assistance from Centre if employment is provided within 15 days of demand.

If not, then State will pay unemployment allowance at its own cost.






 6.  Statutory processes that become effective with notification

i) Registration  for Job Card at GP level

ii) Verification of Job by GP

iii)  Issue of Job Card within at least a fortnight of application

iv) Application for employment

v) Allocation of work  within 15 days of demand

vi)  Wage Payment within 15 days of work completion


7.  Management functions and  Activities critical to the implementation of NREGA

Activities critical to implementing NREGA according to the statutory processes, described at para 4 and summarized at para 6  of this note need to be taken up districts on priority.  These are described below:

7.1)    Awareness generation through Information, Education and Communication ( IEC )

Since NREGS is demand- based, awareness generation is critical to its implementation. For awareness generation every State Government will undertake an intensive Information Education Communication (IEC)  exercise to publicise the  key provisions of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in local language to the likely beneficiaries in all areas.  This IEC exercise will consist of the  following activities:

i) The concerned State Government will draw up an IEC Plan for the new districts

ii)   Communication and publicity material on NREGA processes must be prepared  in simple local language.  Existing IEC materials may be used.

iii) Information will be widely disseminated, specially in remote areas, SC/ST hamlets,  through multi media forms. These will include the following processes:

iv) An intensive one day  orientation of all Sarpanches at the Block level will be held

v) A Gram Sabha will be held in every village to acquaint the local people with the  key provisions of the Act.  It must be ensured that  likely beneficiaries  participate in the Gram Sabha

vi)  Where ever possible, TV and radio may be used. 

vii) Use of print media must include  vernacular newspapers. Pamphlets and brochures in  simple local language should be printed and distributed in adequate quantities at the village  levels.

viii) Information on NREGA processes should be available and publicly displayed in each Gram Panchayat.  Other  local public offices/ buildings may also be identified for this purpose.

ix) A toll free Help Line should be set up to give information and answer queries on NREGA either at State or district head quarters.

x)   Local cultural forms, like puppetry, folk theatre and  music   may be used at the village level

xi) Door to door survey and household contact campaigns may  be undertaken

xii) Information counters may be set up in the local Market days to disseminate information on NREGA through  audio-video material

xiii)  NGOs may be enlisted to facilitate awareness generation

xiv) Each State must have information on NREGA on its web site.  A page will be dedicated to NREGA

xv)  Important aspects of NREGA  that must  be  emphasized for communication  are:

a) NREGA guarantees 100 days of employment to a local rural household if it demands it and is willing to do unskilled manual work

b) A Job Card is necessary for demanding employment under NREGA.

c)   To get a Job Card a family  must  apply for it, in writing or orally to the local Gram Panchayat for registration under NREGS

d) A job card will be issued to a family that applies for registration within 15 days by the Gram Panchayat after verification.

e)  To be eligible for a job card, a family must have local residence  in the area of the GP.

f)  NREGA is not confined to BPL families.

g)  A household means a nuclear family

h)  Job Cards with photographs are given to a family as a whole

i)  Registration, Job Cards and Photographs are free of cost

j)  A job card holding family may demand employment according to its choice for a total number of 100 days.

k)   A written  application by a Job Card holding family to the GP or Programme Officer is necessary for  demanding  employment

l)   Dated receipt of the application for employment must be given by the Gram Panchayat to the applicant. 

m)  Unskilled manual Work is provided within 15 days of  demand.

n)  All adult members whose names are on the Job Card can apply for employment.  The entitlement of 100 days of employment in a financial year is for a household as an aggregate. 

o)   Minimum wages for agricultural labour are to be paid according to the State Schedule of rural rates

p)   If employment is not provided within fifteen days of application, unemployment allowance will be paid by the State Government

    q)  The  State Government will be responsible for concurrent assessment of the effectiveness of  IEC activities, and removing   any deficiencies that come to light.

7.2)  Training


7.2.1) State Government will be responsible for training PRIs, and officials on the provisions of the Act and their roles and responsibilities under the Act.  This would be a large-scale exercise on a recurrent basis and the following action should be initiated

7.2.3 ) The target groups of training are:


i) Gram Rozgar Sewak

 ii) Programme Officer

 iii) Engineers



 iv) IT Personnel



iv) Accounts Personnel




v) Coordinator for Social Audit/Grievance redressal



vii) GP Sarpanches( Priority)

vii) Vigilance Monitoring Committee members


7.2.4 ) The State Government will draw up a training calendar

7.2.5)    For training purposes, the State may use existing materials developed by the State and by NIRD. The   training modules must be calibrated in content and process according to the  different target groups of training and must be in local language  


7.2.6) The National NREGA Guidelines, in Hindi and in English are on the NREGA web site, and they should be adapted in simple local language. National NREGA Guidelines in local language must be available at the district/Block /GP levels 

7.2.7)  Training modules should be adapted to the requirements of different stakeholders: PRIs, local vigilance and monitoring committees, technical and administrative functionaries.

7.2.8) All trainings should be conducted in local language

7.2.9)  Training should be structured on  a cascading model.  This will require training of trainers (TOT) at the District/ Block/GP levels

7.2.10) State Government will train a district resource group in each district  by  drawing upon the   existing pool of resource persons 

7.2.11) The district resource group will train the Block resource group that in turn will train resource persons at the GP levels

7.2.12)    Exposure visits to existing NREGA districts may be considered.

7.2.13)  The State will undertake a concurrent assessment of the impact of the training programme to ensure that all key responsible agencies understand the provisions of the Act, their respective roles in it and have the skills to implement it.

7.2.14)  Training will be repeated based on the feed back and impact assessment.


7.3)  Printing essential documents

 7.3.1)  The State Government will ensure the printing of the following vital documents on priority

  i) Application forms for registration,

 ii) Job Cards that must have the details indicated in the job card format in the National NREGA Guidelines

iii) Application Form for  employment

iv)  Muster Rolls with unique number

7.3.2)  Registers as per NREGA Guidelines, specially for registration and issue of Job Cards, Demand and provision of employment, Assets register, finance and complaints.

 7.3.3)  Printed documents must be distributed  to the GP, Block and District levels

7.3.4 )  All printed documents under NREGA will have the words National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, on top,  followed by the name of the state


7.4)    Positioning  key personnel

Positioning  key personnel should be undertaken immediately.  The Management responsibilities at each level of Management are enclosed.  Discharging these responsibilities requires the placement of key personnel that is full time and dedicated to NREGA.

7.4.1)  The District Programme Coordinator( DPC) has  to be designated.  The DPC may be the Collector, or the CEO or a senior officer of an equivalent level.

7.4.2)  The Programme Officer (P.O.) is a key functionary in the Scheme and the success of the programme will depend, to a large extent, on efficiency of the Programme Officer.  A full time dedicated PO is necessary.  The mode of recruitment of a PO may be deputation or contract.    If taken on contract, proper advertising of the post and a transparent selection process based on merit must be followed.  A PO must be an additional officer dedicated to this programme.  Conjoining the PO with an existing post is not permitted.  The supportive staff of the PO’s office may be taken on deputation or contract.  The supportive Staff may comprise an accounts trained person also trained on computers, combining the skills of a Data Entry Operator and an Accountant, and a person with engineering qualifications equivalent rank with an Assistant Engineer.  The cost of the Block Programme Office would be borne by the Central Government.

7.4.3) A Gram Rozgar Sewak must be deployed at the GP level to attend to the large number of tasks that a GP has to handle right from the beginning of notification viz:

a) Registration

b) Verification of registration applications

c) Issue of Job Cards

 d) Receiving applications for employment

 e)  Issue of dated receipts for employment applications

 f) Reporting Demand to the Programme Officer so that work may be allotted to the implementing agency

g)  Informing the applicants to report for work

h)  Ensuring payments are made on time to the workers.

      i) Reporting work progress and all other matters to the Programme Officer on a regular weekly basis.

These tasks cannot be performed unless a full time Gram Rozgar Sewak is put in place as early  as possible.

7.5)   Establishing the  MIS for NREGA

A computerized MIS for NREGA  has been developed by the Ministry and is being used by the State Governments in the existing NREGA districts.  This must be initialized in the new districts.  This means :

i)   Making hardware available at Block and District levels

ii)  Installing the NREGA software

iii)  Deploy technical personnel for operating it

iv)  Printing formats prescribed for data collection, so that the manual collection of data at the village level is compatible with the electronic forms. 

v)   It is suggested that the State may consider outsourcing.  The business provider must deploy a core dedicated personnel at the District and Block levels.  This personnel must be trained by NIC.  The State may determine a standard format for outsourcing,  but it must ensure that the district takes ownership of the MIS tasks and the business provider is accountable to the district.  The process for operationalising MIS in the existing districts may be extended to the new ones to ensure uniformity.


7.6)  Monitoring Mechanisms


The State Government will establish a  monitoring mechanism to ensure  internal and external monitoring.  Monitoring will be of all the aspects and processes of NREGS.


i)    Monitors for internal and external monitoring must be identified and trained  at the State/ District and Block levels


ii)  100% verification of works at the Block level, 10 % at the District and 2% at the State level has to be ensured. 


   iii) Local vigilance and monitoring committees must be set up and trained 



7.7 )  Fund Management Systems


7.7.1) The Central Share of assistance is as follows:


i)  100% for unskilled wages

ii)  75% for material cost and wages of semi skilled and skilled workers


7.7.2)  The State Government will be responsible for ensuring a proper fund management system in the new districts. This includes:

i)  Dedicated NREGA accounts in a PSU Bank at district/Block/GP levels  will be opened with the NREGA fund  that will be released separately


ii) DPC/PO and GP Secretary  will be authorised to  operate the account.


iii) State share for new districts in the  State EGS budget head will be provided


7.7.3)    NREGA funds will be given to implementing agencies as per demand and not be allocated on a 50-30-20  pattern to GP-IP-ZP as in SGRY.

7.7.4)  Funds are released on specific proposals of the districts based on physical and financial progress.

i)   Proposal for financial claims should be moved in time as soon as 60% of available funds are utilised


ii)  Documents needed for release of next installment:

a)                 Proposal on prescribed form

b)                UCs

c)                 Audit report for the last year(due on 30th September), in the original form

d)                Bank reconciliation statement, in the original form.

e)                 Requirement of funds to be indicated in the covering letter.

f)                  Recommendations of State Government about specific  amount  required

g)                 MPRs on prescribed proforma should have been sent for all months in the year.

h)                 Non-diversion and non-embezzlement certificate.

i)                   Compliance report of any condition imposed earlier

j)                   Outcomes and output are mentioned in UC.

iii)  Proposal must be signed by District Programme Coordinator himself.  Proposals not signed by District Programme Coordinator are not acceptable. Proposal should be sent by speed post. Faxed copies are not acceptable.


7.8)  Reporting Systems 


7.8.1)   The reporting of the physical and financial performance of the additional NREGA districts will be in the MPRs prescribed in the National NREGA Guidelines. 


7.8.2) In addition to the MPRS, the new districts under NREGA will submit information on the progress of registration and issue of Job Cards as this is the foremost basic activity under NREGA.  


7.8.3)  A Check-List is attached to these Guidelines  that indicates  critical activities on all basic parameters of NREGS implementation at the initial notification stage


7.8.4) Districts will have to  certify and report the action taken by them on this Check List  to confirm that they have taken all  measures necessary to ensure that the implementation of NREGS in their districts conforms to the statutory processes of the Act. 


 7.9)     Transition from SGRY to NREGA


     Instructions on SGRY works in these districts have been issued separately vide this Ministry’s letter dated  March 23, 2007, DO.NO.V-24011/34/2001-SGRY I.