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Demand for MGNREGA Work Increased

  • 03 Apr 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

The demand for work by households under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) programme surged to a nine-year high in 2019-20.

Key Points

  • According to the MGNREGA official portal, 5.47 crore households sought MGNREGA works, the highest since 2010-11, when the number was 5.5 crore.
  • 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 disruption caused by the coronavirus lockdown, however, may impact the final figure of the person days generated in March 2020.
  • The gram panchayats not recording any MGNREGA expenditure has also declined. This shows that more and more panchayats are using MGNREGA to provide unskilled work to the unemployed.
  • These new MGNREGA figures coincide with the sharp fall in GDP growth rate to 5% in 2019-20, the lowest in a decade.
  • The demand for works under MGNREGA is surging despite the fact that wages have been flattening in recent years.
    • 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 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.
  • 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.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005

  • The Act aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members (at least 18 years of age) volunteer to do unskilled work.
  • The central government bears the full cost of unskilled labour, and 75% of the cost of material (the rest is borne by the states).
  • It is a demand-driven, social security and labour law that aims to enforce the ‘right to work’.
  • The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Government of India in association with state governments, monitors the implementation of the scheme.
  • Agriculture and allied activities constitute more than 65% of the works taken up under the programme.
  • Social inclusion, gender parity, social security and equitable growth are the founding pillars of MGNREGA.

Source: IE

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