No state provided 100 days of work under MGNREGA in FY22: government data

Despite the increase in poverty, the rural jobs program is not being implemented to its full capacity, and inadequate allocation is one of the main reasons for this.

A parliamentary committee on rural development had suggested that the number of guaranteed working days under MGNREGA be increased to 150 from the current 100 days. Photo: iStock

Forget 150 days, none of the states were able to provide even 100 days of guaranteed wage employment per household under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) during the last exercise.

This contrasts sharply with the recommendations of a Standing Committee on Rural Development, which suggested that the number of guaranteed working days under the scheme be increased to 150 from the current 100 days.

“The committee urges the Department of Rural Development to undertake a comprehensive review of the MGNREGA scheme so as to ensure an increase in guaranteed working days from 100 to 150 days,” the parliamentary panel had said in its submitted report. at the Lok Sabha in February this year.

A little over 50 days on average

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Data from the Ministry of Rural Development showed that on average, only 50.03 days of employment were actually provided under the program in the country in the financial year 2021-22.

Read also : Sonia worries about MGNREGA budget cut, Center hits back

Even in the previous fiscal year, when demand for jobs under the program increased due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, the average number of days of employment provided per household in the country was slightly better at 51, 52%.

The average number of workdays provided under the program fell further in almost every state after the lockdown was lifted, according to data from the program’s implementation for fiscal year 22. Only the small northeastern state of Mizoram managed to approach the target. The average number of days of employment per household provided by the state in FY22 was 94.65, compared to 92.94 days in FY21.

Average employment days per household increased in only 10 other states in FY22 from the prior year. These were: Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

But these states are also far from meeting the goal of 100 days of guaranteed employment. Many of them could not even provide 50 days of employment on average, which clearly shows that the program is not being implemented to its full capacity.

Read also : TN spent most MGNREGA funds among all states and UT: government data

Budget allocation

Experts cite inadequate stipend as a major reason for states’ inability to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a fiscal year to all rural households whose adult members volunteer for perform unskilled manual labor on request.

A budget allocation of ₹2.64 lakh-crore would have been needed in FY23 to provide 100 days of legally guaranteed work per household, according to Anuj Goyal of People’s Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG) . The hiring of contractors and machinery in some cases also has a negative impact on the allocation of labor to rural households, he added.

He also suggested that the scope of the program needs to be further expanded by integrating new sectors under its responsibility to create more demand.

Read also : MGNREGA is exactly what the doctor ordered, but needs more funds

The PAEG is a group of academics and activists working to ensure better implementation of the NREGA through research, advocacy and public intervention.

Deleting the request

Debmalya Nandy, an activist with NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, said The Federal that the budget being insufficient, the administration artificially suppresses demand, thus depriving many villagers of jobs. He added that with the current budget allocation of ₹73,000 crore for the scheme, a maximum of 30 working days can be provided to around 7.5 crore households registered under the scheme in the current financial year. if an additional allowance is not made.

Another factor that has a marginal impact on the average number of days of employment, Nandy said, is a bit technical. “The way they calculate the average number of days of employment for households also has an impact on the figure. The figure is obtained by dividing the total number of man-days generated by the total number of households. Now many families get their work cards in the later parts of the year. Those who do their work cards at the end of the line do not have the possibility of obtaining 100 full days of employment. They get 15-20 working days. It also lowers the average,” he explained.

“The actual average,” he said, “would be slightly better. For example, if the recorded average is 50 days, then in reality it will be 55 or 60 days. promised job.

Delay in supplementary allowance

“In the case of MGNREGA, we have seen over the past five to six years that the trend is for the government to exhaust 80 to 85 percent of the budget in the first four to five months of the fiscal year,” Nandy said. The Federal. “And then, the government takes a long time to allocate additional allowances. In between, there are payment delays and other lengthy administrative processes, which lead to an artificial suppression of demand. As a result, you get a bad average.

Although the distribution of labor in 2021-22 has declined in most states compared to 2020-21, Nandy refuted the claim that demand for rural jobs has declined post-pandemic.

Various data on unemployment, hunger and poverty clearly indicate that the demand for rural jobs is still high, he said. According to a recent report by Azim Premji University, about 2.9 million more people have become poor in the country, he added.

“We also see that 10-15% of migrant families who had returned to their villages during the pandemic have not migrated again. So the demand for jobs under MGNREGA is actually higher than ever before and it will remain so for at least the next two to three years,” he added.orget 150 days, none of the states have been able to provide even 100 days of guaranteed wage employment per household under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) of the last practice.

Maria D. Ervin