The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday said that it has engaged 57.13 lakh workers under the MGNREGS, thereby emerging as the top state in the country to give employment under the rural employment guarantee scheme.
Briefing mediapersons here, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi said that Uttar Pradesh now accounts for 18 per cent of the total workers employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the country and has generated 7.93 crore man-days.
“These 57.13 lakh workers are engaged across 56,981 panchayats out of the total 58,000 panchayats. During a meeting to review the lockdown and coronavirus situation, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered to provide MGNREGA jobs to 10 lakh more people,” Awasthi said, adding that UP is followed by Rajasthan, which has engaged 53.45 lakh workers. Andhra Pradesh with 36 lakh workers and West Bengal with 26 lakh and Madhya Pradesh with 23.95 lakh workers are the other states with high MGNREGA employment.
Last financial year, the highest single-day engagement of labourers stood at 14 lakh, and around the same time last year, an average of about 9 lakh workers were engaged under the MGNREGS, officials said.
With job losses and return of more than 20 lakh migrant workers to the state, thousands of rural households are relying on MGNREGA now to eke out their living.
With the onset of the nationwide lockdown, about 6 lakh workers were engaged in April, which increased to about 41 lakh till last week with the easing of the lockdown.
The Indian Express had earlier reported that Uttar Pradesh witnessed the highest increase of 21.88 lakh (33.22 lakh in May 2020 against 11.34 lakh in May 2019) in May this year.
Principal Secretary (Panchayati Raj & Rural Development) Manoj Kumar Singh said that in the past few days, about 15 lakh more workers have been added to the list. While these workers are being engaged in different works, a large number of them are engaged in water conservation projects like deepening of ponds and river rejuvenation projects. “At present, there are 21 rivers, which are being rejuvenated in the state,” he added.
According to officials, the maximum number of workers have been engaged in Sitapur district (about 1.91 lakh), followed by Basti (1.60 lakh).
Meanwhile, Awasthi said that of the total 18 lakh construction workers who have returned to the state, 6.71 lakh are in rural areas and 8.86 lakh in urban areas. Those in urban areas are being given financial assistance of Rs 1,000 every month. Of them, about 41,000 workers are engaged in 3,000 projects of the Public Workers Department and another 20,000 in 926 projects of the Housing Development Board.?
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