Demand for MG-NREGS work still high, supply seems curbed

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August 04, 2021 3:23 AM

In March 2021, 3.59 crore persons demanded MG-NREGS work, which rose to 4 crore in April, 4.14 crore in May and further to 5 crore in June. In July, 4.26 crore persons demanded work under the job guarantee scheme.

This goal has never been met, but the achievement this year could be closer to the threshold.This goal has never been met, but the achievement this year could be closer to the threshold.

The demand for work under the rural employment scheme – MG-NREGS – remained at an elevated level in July, indicating that the pick up in economic activities hasn’t created enough jobs in urban areas and that a section of migrant labourers who returned to their rural homes, has chosen to stay put.

In March 2021, 3.59 crore persons demanded MG-NREGS work, which rose to 4 crore in April, 4.14 crore in May and further to 5 crore in June. In July, 4.26 crore persons demanded work under the job guarantee scheme.

The number of persons demanding work under the popular scheme had hit a nadir in April 2020 (2 crore) but jumped in May (5.4 crore) immediately after the lock-down was eased; the demand peaked in June 2020 (6.3 crore).

Official data show that government may be regulating the supply of work – as measured in person days created – after being very liberal in a few months following the lock-down last year.

Generation of person days under MG-NREGS this year till August 2 this fiscal stood at 141.21 crore compared with 389.22 crore recorded in the entire 2020-21. In July 2021, only 24.8 crore person days were created, compared with 45.2 crore in the previous month. One reason for the dip in supply of work could be monsoon rains and people opting for agriculture work outside the MG-NREGS fold in the kharif sowing period.

As part of its relief package under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, daily wage rate under MG-NREGS was hiked by Rs 20 to Rs 202, effective April 1, 2020.

The Centre had been generous with the allocations for the MG-NREGS (The scheme’s budget outlay for the last fiscal was Rs 1.11 lakh crore (revised estimate) compared with `68,265 crore in 2019-20). For the 2021-22 fiscal, Rs 73,000 crore has been allocated under MG-NREGS. Of this, Rs 43,048 crore has already been spent so far.

The scheme’s mandate under the MGNREG Act, 2005, is to provide at least 100 days of ‘wage employment’ in a financial year to every rural household whose adult member volunteers to do unskilled manual work. This goal has never been met, but the achievement this year could be closer to the threshold.

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