Campaign

About

Updates

MGNREGA Abhiyan is a focused and large campaign, driven by community organisations with active engagement by district and state administration. It focused on three critical phases or processes of the scheme:


  • State consultation on sharing experiences of MGNREGA Campaign in Bihar
    Date: 2013-03-25

    One-day event began with an Abhiyaan song by leaders of Mahila Dalan at A N Sinha Institute of Social Science in Patna. 

  • Training on Social Audit
    From Date: 2013-02-04   To Date: 2013-02-08

    Training of Trainers n Social Audit in West Singhbhum, Jharkhand conducted where 27 personnel from Shramjivi Mahila Samity got trained. At the public meeting on 8 February, 500 villagers participated. Issues of employment, delayed payments and other entitlements were discussed with the local authorities.

  • Block level officials
    From Date: 2012-12-25   To Date: 2012-12-31

    In Jharkhand around 25 panchayat level social audit were conducted by the end of Dec 2012. The presence of government was observed during the training programme and hearing day (block level officials and in some cases district officials as well).

  • Social Audit Workshop concluded
    From Date: 2012-12-20   To Date: 2012-12-24

    Social Audit Workshop concluded in Madhubani by CSO partner CADAM

  • Social audit training workshop
    From Date: 2012-12-19   To Date: 2012-12-23

    Simultaneous social audit training workshop completed in Nalanda, Bodhgaya and Madhubani. CSO partners conducting the training - DASHRA and BSS

  • Social Audit Workshop
    From Date: 2012-12-16   To Date: 2012-12-20

    Social Audit Workshop concluded in Bhojpur and Siwan districts, by CSO partners CADAM and SSEVS. A total of around 60 community level workers trained.


Stories

Features

Fifty four year old Dibla Oraon, a resident of Haruwatoli village in Gumla district, finds out that age is not a factor for obtaining a job card and workin

Videos/Images

A commentary on the MGNREGA campaign and its progress so far in Bihar and Jharkhand by Gurjeet Singh, who is leading the training on the community audit pr

Podcasts

When a social security scheme becomes a social process, the socially excluded community starts to own and drive it. The first give away sign of this happ

Blog
  • When change happens: PACS-MGNREGA Abhiyan and its multiplying effect

    I am writing this fresh from an inspiring communication that we have just received from the Uttar Pradesh Government with a call for collaboration on strengthen social audits in the state related to the national flagship scheme for livelihood in rural India.
     
    By Rajpal
     
    Yes it is about Mahtama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and significantly about a community based network being called upon to strengthen accountability that lies at the very core of this scheme.
     
    But before I talk more about this, I would like to detail the context behind this call for collaboration. As state manager for Bihar working with Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme, we have been working on bridging the gap that exists between excluded social groups and others in terms of access and utilisation of schemes.
     
    We believe that MGNREGS is a critical lifeline and platform for social change. It is most important for Dalits, Muslims, tribal and women both as a livelihood scheme and as a harbinger of hope for assets -- not to mention participation in democratic processes.
     
    Late last year, PACS and its partners in the state of Bihar and Jharkhand came together to create a campaign to work on three critical aspects of the scheme.
     
    The campaign aims to establish a community driven process to address gaps in the flagship rural employment guarantee scheme in some of the poorest districts of Bihar and Jharkhand through social audits that are informed and driven by a social exclusion perspective. It will bring to the center stage exclusion that exist in the implementation of the scheme, while highlighting ways and means of assessing participation and assertion of stake in the process of community assets formation that happen through the scheme.
     
    The theory of change for the campaign objective is that a social audit process that is owned and carried forward by the community, institutionalised by the state administration and supported by community organisations, can substantially address the pathways of social discrimination and poor implementation of the scheme. It will directly lead to work demand generation largely by socially excluded communities, training of community mobilisers and social audits in villages to document cases of violations and wrong doings.
    The campaign has also create a process of engagement; starting with work demand generation, moving to social audits, to public hearings and submission of demands for action.
     
    As the campaign moved on, especially the critical engagement of social audits and the way it can be turned into a moving canvas for empowerment, we saw tremendous support from state administration. This vindicated our belief that policies need both the supply and demand aspects to be addressed with focus on excluded groups. It cannot be an isolated engagement and needs all the stakeholders working with their relative strength.
     
    Since the launch of this campaign in Bihar’s Jahanabad this coordination kept growing from strength to strength. For partners are community-based organisations, the official letters from the district administration and presence of block level officials meant that the state was closer and listening.
     
    The word and subtle advocacy made its way to national level and we shared what the experiences from the ground have been.
     
    Social audits are enshrined in the Act. But the challenge of making these a genuine community owned process that go beyond financial alone, and look at the aspect of assets that have been created, has drawn tremendous support so far and it only seems to be getting better.

     

  • Social Audit in Burawan Panchayat

     

    Scores of such irregularities were revealed when a social audit was carried out of the flagship government’s MGNREGS in Burawan Panchayat in Jehanabad district of Bihar by social activists on September 12 and 13 in four villages of the panchayat. 

    Saroja Devi’s three year old daughter died due to exposure to the hot summer sun when she was working under MGNREGA scheme in Burawan Panchayat in Jehanabad district, Bihar. She did not receive any compensation for the death of her child from exposure to the sun in the MGNREGA work site. But what is even more tragic is that she has not even been paid for the work that she did under MGNREGA. Also she is not aware that she is entitled to any compensation and who she should approach to obtain it.

    Another women’s husband died when he fell down while working on a MGNREGA site. She too has not received any compensation nor has she been paid for the work that both she and her late husband did under MGNREGA.

    Mangal Das had a job card but he has not worked on any project under MGNREGA but money was deposited in his MGNREGA account at the post office. He revealed that he was even more surprised when he saw that the money was withdrawn from his account without his knowledge.

    Over 100 workers worked on a MGNREGA project to build a long canal structure to hold rain water in 2010. None of them have received payment for the same. The Additional director of Jehanabad, incharge of MGNREGA was surprised when he found such large scale non payment of wages to poor Dalit labourers in Burwan Panchayat.

    On Septemebr 14 when the Jan Sunvai, (public hearing) of the social audit was presented in Burawan village panchayat area in the presence of the woman Sarpanch and the Panchayat Rojgar Sevak, 1200 villagers from four villages were present for the hearing. They contributed their inputs to reveal the various irregularities in the MGNREGA projects undertaken in their villages.

     

    Half way into the hearing which was being held in a open field, it started raining heavily. Despite the rain pouring through the shamiana (tent), villagers choose to stay and attend the hearing. Finally the tent fell down but still the villages continued with the hearing as also the activists who were presenting the findings of their social audit.

    Women, men, both old and young participated in the hearing which showed the level of interest they had in MGNREGA. This could be a way out of their poverty since many labourers in the villagers revealed that they often worked for one whole day with as little as Rs 20-30 which is way below poverty line for a single person.

    The social audit was part of the Training of Trainers (ToT) organised by Poorest Areas Civil Society programme to train social activists to carry out social audits in the villages where MGNREGA is implemented.

    Social audit is an integral part of MGNREGA to add transparency and accountability in implementing this flagship programme of the government. The social activists who have been trained will in turn train other people from various gram panchayats to carry out social audits in their villages. These trained villagers will ensure that the scheme is implemented in total and is beneficial to the socially discriminated groups.

    The social audit revealed that there are 1200 job card holders in Burawan panchayat but in the nine months since a new Panchayat Rojgar Sevak has been appointed, not a single job card has been issued.

    Over 200 new applications were filled at the site to get job cards by villagers eager to obtain a job card so that they can be eligible for work under MGNREGA. The job card registration drive was undertaken by the social activists on the site of the social audit to create awareness and facilitate the process. The table where job card registration forms were being filed was mobbed by villagers as they queued up and waited for hours to fill a form. Finally, the activists ran out of forms.

     

  • Social audit trainings in Jharkhand and Bihar

    100 Social Audits are being conducted under MGNREGA Abhiyan in Bihar and Jharkhand to ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of MGNREGA and to ensure that the needs of socially excluded communities are addressed.

    The social audit process began with two state-level training of trainers (ToTs), one each in Bihar and Jharkhand to train social activists in the processes of MGNREGA in the states.

    The ToT in Jharkhand was conducted in Gumla district in 4-8 September 2012 and in Jehandabad in Bihar in 10-14 September 2012. In both the ToTs, Gurjeet Singh who is the Ombudsman in Jharkhand on MGNREGA was the key resource person. PACS got the support of local authorities to conduct the social audit. 

    On the last day of the five day training, a public hearing or Jan Sunwahi was conducted where the findings were presented to local authorities and villagers of the concerned panchayats. These revealed the gaps in the implementation and also the creation of assets in the villages under MGNREGA.

    To ensure transparency and accountability of the scheme, PACS has begun a campaign, ‘MGNREGA Abhiyan’ in Bihar and Jharkhand which is a collective intervention of the CSO partners to ensure that critical interventions are identified. These should ideally lead to deliberations to resolve the problem areas.

    Looking Beyond Finance

    Regular social audits should be conducted on MGNREGA works as per section 17 of the Act. The conventional practice of conducting social audits however gets restricted to discussions on finance and related issues and the financial performance of the schemes becomes a de-facto indicator for performance.

    Social Audit in MGNREGA Abhiyan or campaign of PACS will however try to look beyond this conventional approach. The focus in these social audits will be on entitlement access, implementations of key provisions of the Act for job cards, work provision to women and persons with disability, timely payments, provisions for shade, crèche, drinking water etc.

    These social audits would also focus upon assessing the aspect of discrimination and inclusiveness of the processes and outcomes of the MGNREGA works.

    Through the Abhiyan, PACS also wants to leave behind a legacy of empowered community based resource persons who can take these processes further and beyond PACS.

    Training of Trainers

    To kick start the social audit process, the two Training of Trainers in Bihar and Jharkhand trained activists who will in turn train and create a cadre of 250 community based individuals to conduct social audits in the field.

    Totally 50 social audits in each state will be conducted in Jharkhand and Bihar in October-November 2012. Based upon the results, learnings and experiences of the Abhiyan, it will be expanded to other states in the future.

    The process

    The five day training consisted of two days of classroom learning followed by two days of field visits to various villages to conduct the social audits and find out the gaps in implementation of the Act. The fifth day was reserved for public hearing or Jan Sunvahi, conducted before the panchayats office bearers, villagers and other functionaries to present the findings.

    The public hearings after the social audits in two panchayats of Gumla district in Jharkhand and two panchayats in Jehanabad district in Bihar revealed gaps in almost all the areas. Gaps like job cards not issued, lack of work provision to women and persons with disability, late or no payments, no provisions for work site facilities like shade, crèche, drinking water etc.

    In the social audit, an important component is preparing resource maps. This reveals the assets which have been created under MGNREGA and where they have been created. The audits also revealed whether these assets like lakes, water trenches, wells and brick roads are accessible to people belonging to socially excluded communities. Social audits also make villagers aware of their rights and entitlements and teach them ways to obtain their rights.