Model Question and Answers for APSC | Discuss benefits and challenges of the National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS) mandated for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
Discuss benefits and challenges of the National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS) mandated for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
Ans: The Union government, arguing for transparency and accountability in 2021, had started a pilot project to capture attendance via a mobile application, the National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS). Digital capture of the attendance of workers employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has been made universal by the Centre from January 1.
The National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS):
• From May 2022 capturing attendance via the app was made compulsory for all worksites with 20 or more workers. This required uploading two time-stamped and geotagged photographs of the workers.
• The guidelines required uploading of geotagged and time-stamped photographs of the workers around 11 a.m. and another one after 2 p.m.
• In the latest order, dated December 23, the Ministry has ordered that digitally capturing attendance is now mandatory for all worksites, regardless of the number of workers engaged, and will be applicable from January 1, 2023.
Benefits of NMMS:
This app is aimed at bringing more transparency and ensuring proper monitoring of the schemes. The NMMS App permits taking real time attendance of workers at Mahatma Gandhi NREGA worksites along with geo-tagged photographs. The app helps in increasing citizen oversight of the programme.
Challenges in the National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS):
• The app-based attendance system carries forward the problem with electronic muster rolls, which replaced the paper muster rolls and was in use before the NMMS was introduced.
• Here, the muster roll has to be generated based on demand and therefore, no worker can come and join at the worksite. And if out of the 10 workers on the electronic muster roll, only two turn up, usually the worksite is not opened, therefore, in a way, denying them work too.
• Women employees, especially the supervisors or “work mates”, have faced the biggest setback from the move. In a majority of cases, the employees’ families are averse to giving phones to women, especially smartphones. Hence, many women have dropped out.
• The job fell on the mates/supervisors, who are paid only marginally more than the unskilled workers. There were widespread complaints over the lack of technical support, the necessity to own a smartphone, paying for an Internet connection, and issues with erratic Internet connectivity.
• The second big problem is the two-time stamped photographs. Often, the workers may finish their work but are forced to return to the worksite for the second photograph.
• The endless conditions placed on MGNREGS workers themselves, many activists feel, is enough to dissuade them from relying on the scheme, thus failing its basic purpose.