Geo-fencing in MGNREGS Attendance: Challenges and Concerns

  Mar 05, 2024

Geo-fencing in MGNREGS Attendance: Challenges and Concerns

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), aimed at enhancing livelihood security in rural areas, has recently incorporated a geo-fencing feature to ensure transparency in its online attendance system. This initiative, part of the National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS), mandates workers to mark their attendance within a 10-metre radius of a pre-identified geo-tagged location at the worksite. This change, while intended to enhance system integrity, has raised operational challenges, particularly in projects that span large areas or involve linear developments such as road or canal maintenance.

States like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra have voiced concerns over the practicality of this feature. Workers on linear projects are finding it difficult to return to the initial geo-tagged spots for attendance, sometimes covering long distances. This requirement is proving to be impractical and is hindering the daily operations of the scheme.

The NMMS, introduced in May 2021 and made mandatory in January of the subsequent year, had previously allowed for attendance to be marked from any location within the worksite. However, the new feature, implemented after pilot testing in Haryana, is aimed at preventing fraudulent practices and ensuring that workers are actually present at the designated work locations.

Critics, including social activists and state government officials, argue that the geo-fencing feature complicates the attendance process without considering the nature of various projects and the geographical challenges they pose. They suggest that the system needs modifications to accommodate different project types, especially those spread over large areas or involving linear developments. Concerns about network connectivity issues at specific geo-tagged locations have also been raised, suggesting that the current implementation may not be as effective in all scenarios.

The central government, while acknowledging the role of state governments in the scheme’s implementation, has indicated openness to further discussions and potential adjustments to the NMMS based on stakeholder feedback. The aim is to find a balance between ensuring transparency and maintaining the practicality of attendance procedures for workers across diverse project types.



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