Half of all jobs in FY20 came from MGNREGA in just 100 days, COVID-19 makes this scheme superstar

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Updated: Jul 08, 2020 9:38 AM

After a lull in the lockdown month of April, when the person days of work created stood at 14.12 crore, the lowest in any month since 2016-17, a sudden surge occurred in MG-NREGS jobs since the first week of May.

Further, the government also launched a Rs 50,000-crore rural-centric Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan that focuses on boosting livelihood opportunities for returnee migrant workers.The government has allocated an additional Rs 40,000 crore under the MGNREGS for the current fiscal, over and above the initial budget outlay of Rs 61,500 crore for 2020-21

Till July 7 this fiscal, i.e., in the first 98-odd days of the year, around half a dozen states in the country have created person days 50% or more of such daily jobs produced in the whole of FY20 under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MG-NREGS), according to official dashboard.

Moreover, Telangana is within striking distance of surpassing last year’s level of person days (96%), while Andhra Pradesh (79%) and Gujarat (71%) have also seen an exceptionally brisk pace this year in providing MG-NREGS jobs to the needy.

At the all-India level, the popular rural jobs scheme that have seen a lot of traction in the immediate aftermath of the Covid-19 lockdown, have generated 123.36 crore person days till July 7 this fiscal.

These were an impressive 46.5% of the jobs created under the scheme in FY20 (265.36 crore).

After a lull in the lockdown month of April, when the person days of work created stood at 14.12 crore, the lowest in any month since 2016-17, a sudden surge occurred in MG-NREGS jobs since the first week of May. The easing of lockdown from the second week of May accelerated job generation, resulting in total person days of a record level of 56.8 crore in May, taking the total for the first two months to 70.92 crore. And, in June, another 36.88 crore person days were created.

The other states which saw a proliferation of MG-NREGS jobs so far in the current fiscal year (at around 50% of last year’s level or higher), are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, all with large populations of poor people. Incidentally, both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are net migrant labour-recipient states, rather than suppliers, like Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Bihar.

To ensure that crores of migrant labourers who have reached their villages from urban centres find enough job opportunities in the rural areas, the government has allocated an additional Rs 40,000 crore under the MGNREGS for the current fiscal, over and above the initial budget outlay of Rs 61,500 crore for 2020-21. Announcing this increased outlay, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that with the infusion, nearly 300 crore person days of jobs can be generated in 2020-21, helping creation of a larger number of durable and livelihood assets.

Further, the government also launched a Rs 50,000-crore rural-centric Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan that focuses on boosting livelihood opportunities for returnee migrant workers. The scheme will be run by the funds allocated for 25 existing schemes and catalyse rural infrastructure development and asset creation in 116 districts, including in 25 backward ones, spread across six states. The mission-mode 125-day project is designed to involve the labour of over 67 lakh returnee migrants.

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