MGNREGS - the UPA brainchild, is witnessing an astronomical rise in the demand for work in NDA-ruled states.
MGNREGS – the UPA brainchild, is witnessing an astronomical rise in the demand for work in NDA-ruled states. As per a TOI report, eight key states (seven BJP-ruled) – Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, have witnessed a massive increase in the demand for work under the job guarantee scheme during this fiscal. Interestingly, Rural Development Ministry credits the rural housing scheme for the spike in the demand for work. As per the report, Rural Development Ministry, this month, pumped in Rs 7,000 crore more into the scheme. The Ministry secured Rs 3,500 crore from the Finance Ministry and mopped up the rest amount from savings in its other schemes.
Coming to the state-wise figures, in Gujarat, the last five months saw an extra demand of 72800, 76825, 43239, 84842 and 46574 ‘person-days’ (respectively). The increase in ‘person-days’ in Jharkhand in the last five months was 2.9 lakh, 3.9 lakh, 4.12 lakh, 3.5 lakh and 1.2 lakh. Chhattisgarh registered a sharp rise in demand, month-on-month, over 2016-17 — 1.18 lakh in August, 2.58 lakh in September, 4.27 lakh in October, 6.57 lakh in November and 7.86 lakh in December. Similar trends of jump were found in the rest of the five (among the above mentioned eight) states as well.
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As per the report, a total of 54 lakh houses are in different stages of construction under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana’, where each house is being supplied with 90 days of labour from the job scheme. However, despite the sharp hike in the afore-mentioned eight states, the year-wise comparative analysis suggests a decline. The demand for work is projected to touch 225 crores ‘person-days’ in 2017-18, as against 235.75 crores ‘person-days’ in 2016-17, as per the report.
It must also be taken into consideration that the government is considering a proposal to change the wage calculation methodology for MGNREGS using Consumer Price Index (CPI) – rural instead of CPI-agricultural labour. The proposal is being considered by the finance ministry and will increase the wage cost by more than Rs 600 crore as per initial estimates, as per various media reports. Earlier, the average wages under the scheme were increased by 2.7 per cent for 2017-18 following the changes in CPI for agricultural labour.