scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Thursday, June 04, 2020

As growth slows, demand for work under MNREGA shoots to 9-year high

According to figures uploaded on the MGNREGA official portal, 5.47 crore households sought MGNREGA works, the highest since 2010-11, when the number was 5.5 crore. It was 5.27 crore in 2018-19.

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: April 3, 2020 9:21:57 am
MNREGA, unemployment, coronavirus impact on economy, india economic slowdown, covid-19, India lockdown, india gdp Labour working at Barasat Bara Bazar whole sale market during lockdown. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

AS THE economy slows down, the demand for work by households under the MGNREGA programme surged to a nine-year high in 2019-20.

According to figures uploaded on the MGNREGA official portal, 5.47 crore households sought MGNREGA works, the highest since 2010-11, when the number was 5.5 crore. It was 5.27 crore in 2018-19.

More individuals too worked under MGNREGA in 2019-20, with 7.86 crore employed at various sites across the country. This is the highest since 2012-13, when 7.97 crore individuals worked under this programme. The national job guarantee scheme was launched in 2006 from 200 districts.

The new MGNREGA figures coincide with the sharp fall in GDP growth rate to 5 per cent in 2019-20, the lowest in a decade.

MNREGA, unemployment, coronavirus impact on economy, india economic slowdown, covid-19, India lockdown, india gdp The new MGNREGA figures coincide with the sharp fall in GDP growth rate to 5 per cent in 2019-20, the lowest in a decade.

Other data shows that the number of gram panchayats not recording any MGNREGA expenditure has also declined. It stood at 9,144 in the last financial year, from lower than 10,978 in 2018-19. The number of such panchayats was 11,789 in 2017-18; 19,451 in 2016-17; 39,469 in 2015-16; and 39,531 in 2014-15.

There are a total 2.63 lakh gram panchayats in India. The decline in the number of panchayats with zero expenditure shows that more and more panchayats are using MGNREGA to provide unskilled work to the unemployed.

Also Read | Consider 21 days’ advance payment to MGNREGA workers: Sonia Gandhi to PM Modi

This is despite the fact that wages have been flattening. In 2019-20, average MGNREGA wage per day per person was Rs 182.09, barely Rs 3 higher than Rs 179.13 in 2018-19. The average cost per day per person under the MGNREGA (on materials etc), meanwhile, increased to Rs 263.3 in 2019-20 from Rs 247.19 in 2018-19.

MNREGA, unemployment, coronavirus impact on economy, india economic slowdown, covid-19, India lockdown, india gdp Women account for a high 65 percent of the MGNREGA workforce in Rajasthan, and like Pista, many are vocal about benefiting from the recent revival the scheme has seen.

The data also showed that 263.73 crore person days were generated during 2019-20, slightly lower than 267.96 crore in 2018-19 but significantly higher than the total person days generated during each financial year from 2012-13 to 2017-18.

These are provisional figures, and the final data will be settled by the end of April. Going by the daily person days’ work generation, the final numbers are likely to only increase.

Also Read | Hunger a constant companion for those left without work or income

“In all likelihood, the person days generated will cross last year’s tally by a decent number,” said a source in the Ministry of Rural Development. The disruption caused by the coronavirus lockdown, however, may impact the final figure of the person days generated in March 2020. Sources further said that during 2019-20, the Centre released Rs 72,162.13 crore for the MGNREGA, the highest ever amount, and substantially higher than the Rs 62,125.07 crore released in 2018-19.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App.

0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement