MGNREGA Work Has Seen a Fall Since Pandemic

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MGNREGA Work Has Seen a Fall Since Pandemic

| Updated: February 27, 2024 17:46

Better opportunities in urban centres, irregular wage payments cited as reasons

In the three years since the pandemic, work in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has shown a decline. The amount of work has fallen from 38.9 million person days in 2020-21 to 28 million in the year so far, according to rural development ministry data.
During the same period, the number of households who got a full 100 days of work in a financial year has fallen by a whopping 61%. In 2020-21, 7.19 million households got 100 days of work. In 2023-24 so far, the figure is only 2.75 million households.
According to experts, one reason for this is the availability of better wage opportunities in urban centres. The low wage rate in the welfare scheme in some states and delay in releasing payments has been cited as other reasons. Also, when the agriculture sector does well, MGNREGA employment falls, they say.
The demand for MGNREGA jobs is also less because the payments have been irregular. The reasons given for this is that the allocation from the Centre has been delayed. Also, in some states, the wages are reportedly below the minimum wages of the state for unskilled workers.
Average daily wage given to a MGNREGA worker was ₹219, lower than the average minimum non-agricultural wages for both female and male workers, an analysis by the Centre for Policy Research has shown.
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