UPA’s MGNREGA shores up rural wages; work increases 50% in these states amid coronavirus

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August 25, 2020 5:37 PM

Average income per person per month under the MGNREGA has doubled this financial year with the government’s focus on providing employment via the scheme and also because of an increase in working days.

While labourers earned nearly Rs 509 average income per person per month in the last financial year 2019-20, the same this year has increased to nearly Rs 1,000.

Average income per person per month under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (MGNREGA) has doubled this financial year with the government’s focus on providing employment via the scheme and also because of an increase in working days. While labourers earned nearly Rs 509 average income per person per month in the last financial year 2019-20, the same this year has increased to nearly Rs 1,000 in the first four months of this fiscal, a CRISIL report said on Tuesday. The April to July period saw a growth in in-person days under the scheme which also shored up wages. 

“The April-July period typically sees ~25% greater work execution (in terms of person-days) under the scheme compared with the rest of the fiscal, thereby aiding rural income. This fiscal, however, these four months saw a growth of ~46% on-year in person-days,” the report said. The government has been pushing for the MGNREGA scheme due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the country imposing nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, migrant workers returned to their native villages from urban regions, creating employment opportunities in the rural areas. To cover for the same, the government has been thrusting the flagship scheme. The average wages under the scheme were also hiked by nearly 12%. The push has been higher in states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and Gujarat, due to which, work allocation has increased by more than 50% on-year in the first four months in these states.

Under the MGNREGA scheme, at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year are provided to every rural household whose adult members volunteer for unskilled manual work. Passed under the UPA government, the scheme has been a key mechanism of providing employment to the rural labour force.

Meanwhile, the government had increased the allocation for this scheme by Rs 40,000 crore from the previous figures of Rs 61,500 crore under Union budget 2020-21. The same was done to support the rural economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

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