MGNREGA: Worker incomes double to Rs 1,000 per month

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August 26, 2020 7:25 AM

The push to the scheme has been higher in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and Gujarat, where work allocation increased more than 50% on year in the first four months, CRISIL noted.

On Monday, CRISIL Research had painted a rather rosy picture of the rural income scenario. On Monday, CRISIL Research had painted a rather rosy picture of the rural income scenario.

More than anything else, the rural jobs guarantee scheme is aiding the rural people, including the migrants recently returned, at this time of grave crisis. The average monthly income of a person who took up the work offered under the scheme nearly doubled to a perfect Rs 1,000 in April-July this fiscal, from Rs 509 in the year-ago period, CRISIL Research has estimated. This feat was enabled by a 46% growth on-year in person-days of work, coupled with an increase of 12% in average wage under the scheme, it added.

Curiously, even after such jump in the person days, there is still considerable unmet demand for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MG-NREGA). As FE reported recently, the demand for work under MG-NREGA saw a sharp spike since early May and peaked in June; supply responded to the higher demand in an expeditious manner in May but has since shown moderation.

According to the official dashboard, till August 25 this fiscal, 184.13 crore person days have been created under the scheme, against a revised target of 300 crore (previously, 280.8 crore) for the whole year. The Centre has released Rs 56,683 crore under the scheme so far in the year.

The push to the scheme has been higher in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and Gujarat, where work allocation increased more than 50% on year in the first four months, CRISIL noted.

The government allocated Rs 61,500 crore for this scheme in the budget for 2020-21, and it later increased the allocation by Rs 40,000 crore amid the pandemic to support the rural economy. Of the Rs 101,500 crore, Rs 11,500 crore has to be spent on clearing pending dues of 2019-20, thus leaving Rs 90,000 crore for the current fiscal. Clearly, the pace of the scheme will likely demand an even higher outlay for the fiscal year.

On Monday, CRISIL Research had painted a rather rosy picture of the rural income scenario. Aided by normal and well-spread monsoon, kharif crop productivity will likely increase by ~3%, pushing output to a record high, or 5-6% on year, it said. This could augur well for rural India, with per-hectare profitability of farmers improving by 3-5% or Rs 10,000 at C2 cost, on year.

Ahead of the harvesting of the summer crop and its realisation by farmers, the MG-NREGA is playing a vital complementary role in supporting the rural economy.
An ideal scenario would be of average days of employment per household under the scheme in a year touching 100. In the past years, the days hovered around half that level. So far during the current year the average person days/ household have been around 33.

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