Work Demand Campaign

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Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) households are entitled to 100 days of paid work every year. However, they can only access this employment if they have a MGNREGA job card and if they request employment from their Gram Panchayat (local village council). The PACS Kaam Maango Abhiyaan (Work Demand Campaign) aimed to educate and mobilise socially excluded communities to demand work under this government scheme. In total, PACS has helped 851,778 people to apply for MGNREGA work and 664,603 people have actually received MGNREGA work. 330,379 people got paid on time and in full.

A lack of awareness

Various studies on MGNREGA have highlighted that, although many rural communities need more paid work, demand for work under MGNREGA is not being generated.

Socially excluded groups in particular face institutional and social discrimination that often prevents them from accessing other employment opportunities and so the MGNREGA scheme is a vital livelihood option for them.

The main reason for the lack of take-up of the scheme is that community members do not know about it or do not understand the process for demanding work. In addition, Gram Panchayats (who are supposed to run the scheme at a community-level) have not proactively encouraged it or planned works under it.

Even where Gram Panchayats do have a MGNREGA work plan, socially excluded groups are often left out from planning meetings and so are less likely to understand that MGNREGA work is available and how to go about applying for it.

 Barnali is a disabled widow. Thanks to PACS partner DISHA, the Sarpanch issued Barnali a job card and today she receives 100 days of MGNREGA employment every year looking after children on site and providing drinking water. She uses her earnings to breed goats.

Kaam Maango Abhiyaan

In 2012-13 PACS started the Kaam Maango Abhiyaan in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand. In its first year, 1 lakh (100000) people from 400 Gram Panchayats demanded work under MGNREGA.

The campaign had two main aims:

  1. To mobilise communities to demand work under MGNREGA
  2. To raise awareness amongst communities about the other processes and entitlements under MGNREGA and to help them to redress any grievances they have.

In short, it aimed to mobilise and empower community members to become active stakeholders in the scheme and to demand their rights and entitlements.

Educating communities about MGNREGA

The Kaam Maango Abhiyaan involved raising awareness about MGNREGA, such as the processes involved in registering for the scheme, the standard norms for the payments of wages and the role of the Gram Panchayat in the process.

This involved a range of activities including organising work demand camps, rallies and community meetings, and raising awareness through murals and pamphlets.

Every 3 months all our partners working on MGNREGA would spend 1 week specifically focussing on educating communities about work demand.

It didn't stop once communities had placed their demands for work – the campaign also focused on helping them to follow up with district and state authorities if their demands were not met, and helping them to apply for ‘unemployment allowance’ if work is not provided within the stipulated time frame.

Work demand success

Due to its success, the campaign was rolled out across all of the 7 PACS states, facilitating households to apply for work in 2013-14 and 2014-15. 

In total, PACS has helped 851,778 people to apply for MGNREGA work and 664,603 people have actually received MGNREGA work. 330,379 people got paid on time and in full.

 Yasoda Devi from Khoripanan village in Jharkhand stands up in a village meeting to propose new MGNREGA projects - a new road and drainage system - and to ask for more suitable job options for women.

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