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Work Demand Surge Up Under MGNREGA

A total of 3.39 crore households were in need of work in June 2021, while 4.81 crore individuals demanded work last year

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As of June, 3.16 crore households applied for work under the rural employment guarantee scheme, compared to 3.07 crore in May, a 2.9 per cent increase, indicating that the labour market had not completely recovered. The demand for individual products decreased by 0.91 per cent to 4.31 crore from 4.35 crore in May, according to provisional data.

Both individual and household demand in June, however, was lower than last June, when the pandemic prompted an increase in demand.

A total of 3.39 crore households were in need of work in June 2021, while 4.81 crore individuals demanded work last year.

Those figures are in line with the latest unemployment data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, showing unemployment was higher at 7.8 per cent in June compared with 7.12 per cent in May. Compared to May, rural unemployment spiked to 8.03 per cent in June, up from 6.62 per cent, while urban unemployment declined sharply to 7.3 per cent from 8.21 per cent last month.

As a result of the pandemic, the demand for work under the MGNREGA program is significantly higher than pre-Covid levels, suggesting a greater dependence on the employment guarantee program from rural households.

It is estimated that there were 2.54 crore households that demanded work in June 2019-20, the pre-pandemic period, as compared to this June. There was a 22.1 per cent decrease in individual demand from the pre pandemic period at 3.53 crore.

In rural India, the MGNREGA scheme has become a source of additional income or a livelihood since the outbreak of the pandemic.

As a result of persistently high demand month after month, the rural employment guarantee scheme may receive an increase in annual allocations. Two years ago, the government increased the allocation at the RE stage in order to keep pace with the rising demand.

During 2020-21 and 2021-22, the allocation was increased from Rs 61,500 crore to Rs 1,11,500 crore and from Rs 73,000 crore to Rs 98,000 crore respectively. 

Although the number of person days generated is estimated to be less at  Rs 227,66 crore compared to Rs 337,76 crore in 2021-22 and  Rs 385,67 crore in 2020-21, the government has still given MGNREGA the same allocation as last year at Rs 73,000 crore.

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MGNREGA scheme rural employment