India has generated 366 crore person days of work under MGNREGS so far in the pandemic-hit 2020-21, the highest ever, and spent over Rs 1 lakh crore.
The Congress-ruled Rajasthan stood at the first slot, as it created 43 crore person days as on Monday; West Bengal came second with 40 crore person days, followed by Uttar Pradesh (38 crore), Madhya Pradesh (33 crore) and Tamil Nadu (31 crore).
According to the MGNREGS website, the number of persons/households who have worked under the scheme so far in the current fiscal have also way gone past all previous highs. A total of 7.41 crore households and 10.92 crore persons took up MGNREGS work in the current fiscal thus far in comparison with 5.48 crore households and 7.89 crore persons in the entire 2019-20. In the last fiscal, a total of 265.35 crore person days were generated in all.
Though the scheme mandates providing at least 100 days of ‘wage employment’ in a financial year to every rural household whose adult member volunteers to do unskilled manual work, the goal has never been met and this year too, there would not be any exception as the average now stands at 49.37.
Only around 55 lakh households have completed 100 days of wage employment during the year so far. In the entire last fiscal, only around 41 lakh households got 100 days of wage employment. Women employment in the total share of person days generated fell a little to 53.03% this fiscal so far compared with 54.78% in the entire last fiscal.
Of the total expenditure, Rs 73,750 crore has been spent for paying unskilled wages, Rs 24,331 crore for paying skilled wages & materials and the remaining for administrative expenses.
The demand for work under the MGNREGS continues to be at elevated levels compared with the pre-Covid period. This indicates that the pick-up in economic activities hasn’t created enough jobs in urban areas and that a section of migrant labourers who returned to their rural homes, has chosen to stay put. After being very liberal in a few months following the lock-down, there has been some regulation in the supply of work.
The Centre has been generous with the allocations for the MGNREGS this year (The scheme’s budget outlay for the current fiscal year is Rs 1.11 lakh crore (revised estimate) compared with Rs 68,265 crore in 2019-20). For the 2021-22 fiscal, Rs 73,000 crore has been allocated under MGNREGS.
As part of its relief package under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, daily wage rate under MGNREGS was hiked by Rs 20 to Rs 202, effective April 1 2020.