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Poll-bound UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab see NREGA work rise

Of all the states, Punjab recorded the highest increase over the projected work for the current fiscal until December this year.

Written by Shalini Nair | New Delhi | Updated: January 12, 2017 12:15 pm
uttar pradesh elections, up elections, punjab elections, punjab polls, uttarakhand elections, NREGA, MGNREGA, NREGA work, indian express news, election updates, indian express Last fiscal, Punjab saw only 0.96 crore person-days of employment generated under MGNREGA from April to December 2015.

THE poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand have recorded a significant increase in job numbers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The three states have not only exceeded the projections made for the current financial year, but have also surpassed the jobs generated over the same period last fiscal, which was officially a drought year.

MGNREGA, which provides 100 days of wage employment in rural India per year, usually records the highest numbers during drought as it offers an alternative to loss of agricultural income.

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Of all the states, Punjab recorded the highest increase over the projected work for the current fiscal until December this year. While the projected person-days of employment under MGNREGA was about 1.01 crore, the state has generated 1.28 crore person-days so far.

Punjab usually records lower demand for MGNREGA work, since the well-irrigated, agriculture-rich state is not dependent on being rain-fed, thereby easily absorbing much of the labour demand. Last fiscal, Punjab saw only 0.96 crore person-days of employment generated under MGNREGA from April to December 2015.

“Since it is an election year, there were strict instructions to all district administrators to push up the MGNREGA figures. A lot of work was taken up this year, and the labour component of MGNREGA was dovetailed to these works, so that ample work supply is ensured.

Moreover, officials went to the field to look for any kind of untapped demand,” said a senior district-level official from Punjab.

In Uttar Pradesh, the high demand from drought-hit regions like Bundelkhand added to the work generated. The condition improved after the onset of monsoon. This was one reason why the job projection for this fiscal was slightly lower than last fiscal. Yet, work generated was much higher at 13 crore person-days as compared to 11 crore last fiscal (April to December).

“This being an election year, the UP government has effectively used MGNREGA funds for providing relief in the drought-affected Bundelkhand region. The same is not the case when it comes to Madhya Pradesh,” said Yogendra Yadav, leader of Swaraj Abhiyan, which is a petitioner in the case relating to MGNREGA implementation in the Supreme Court.

Madhya Pradesh, in contrast, has managed to achieve just over half of its projected work generation under the scheme so far.

Uttarakhand is also ahead of its projected work generation. At 1.62 crore person-days from April-December 2016, the state has exceeded the previous year’s figure of 1.24 crore person-days for the corresponding months.

A similar trend was recorded in the run-up to April-May 2016, when the then poll-bound states of West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala showed high MGNREGA numbers.

Besides the poll factor, the twin impact of drought-like conditions prior to monsoon this year and reverse migration owing to demonetisation over the last two months has ensured that a few other states like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Telangana and Tamil Nadu also recorded an increase over their projected work generation.

However in most of these cases, the person-days generated have not necessarily surpassed the figures of the previous drought-hit year, as is the case in the poll-bound states.

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  1. J
    Jan 12, 2017 at 2:26 am
    Our aim should be to reduce the MNREGA seekers to ZERO. Congress stooges are writing comments here and saying its great scheme. We should remove the rich poor difference and help poor irrespective of caste and creed. For this one need to work hard as NaMo is working currently, not like bas*** who takes vacation even without any proper responsibility.
    1. Khushminder Sahasi
      Jan 12, 2017 at 1:56 am
      Modi and his ill informed spokes persons a few ministers made fun of MNREGA in 2014 and AADHAR. In fact in the first budget BJP FM Jaitely drastically reduced the allocation. Now Elections are coming so BJP is doling out some money to hungry millions due to Demonetization. This to win votes.congress must inform why BJP is doing this. They may discontinue after elections. Wake up vote for congress if you want committed 100 days work to every unemplo.
      1. N
        Niladrinath Mohanty
        Jan 12, 2017 at 2:18 am
        How much of these figures are doctored?
        1. S
          syed ansar
          Jan 12, 2017 at 2:17 am
          reverse migration of demonetisation hit labourers from urban to rural areas.....MGNREGS the legacy of the previous so called"corrupt government" and the scheme which was ridiculed by the present government is there to provide relief to the poor in distress....writing on the wall....
          1. S
            syed ansar
            Jan 12, 2017 at 2:29 am
            seek information from union rural development ministry under RTI....
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