Work generated under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MG-NREGS) in terms of person days fell to its lowest in 24 months at 171 million in April this year, indicating regulation of supply by a fiscally-constrained government. The usual delay in release of funds in the first month of a fiscal may have also contrinuted to the drop in person days.
Work generated in April was down 30% from the previous month and 50% from the year-ago period, according to the MG-NREGS website.
However, demand for work from individuals during the first month of the current fiscal was the highest in nine months, and up 4% over the previous month. The demand was still 13% lower than during the same month last year.
At the household level also, demand for work was lower compared with the previous month as well as in the same month last year by 3% and 11%, respectively.
MG-NREGS is a demand-driven scheme for the enhancement of livelihood security of the households in rural areas by providing at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work in every financial year.
Person days of work under the scheme in 2020-21 reached a record high of 3,890 million but fell to 3,635 million in FY22. As on May 3, a total of 170 million person days of work has been generated in the current fiscal, according to the MG-NREGS dashboard. A total of 13.1 million household and 17.4 million individuals worked under the scheme so far in the current fiscal.
Against the scheme’s mandate to provide at least 100 days of ‘wage employment’ in a financial year to every rural household, a little over 13 days of work has been provided to every rural household so far. In the entire last fiscal, a rural household received an average of 50 days of work.
Compared with an allocation of Rs 1.06 trillion in FY22, the scheme’s outlay for the current year is Rs 73,000 crore.