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Rural Distress, Unemployment: MGNREGA Jobs Demand at 8-year High in 2018-19

Compared to last year, the demand increased by 10 per cent in the current financial year. 

The demand for jobs under MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme reportedly increased to a eight-year high in 2018-19, which points to high rural distress in the country.

Per a report by Shalini Nair in The Indian Express, the work generated under the scheme was 255 crore person-days up to March 25 in the current financial year, and is expected to rise further. In sharp contrast, the person-days generated was just 166 crore in 2014-15.

The report added that In 2017-18, data show that the scheme generated 233 crore person-days and 235 person days in 2016-17 and 2015-16 respectively. Compared to last year, the demand increased by 10 per cent in the current financial year.

Also read: MGNREGA Wages Not Paid For Months, Workers to File FIRs Against PM Modi

Speaking to The Indian Express, Rajendran Narayanan, an MGNREGA researcher at the Azim Premji University, said, “The last one year, the agrarian crisis was really acute and there has been no alternate source of employment anywhere. The budget allotment for the scheme was abysmal just like in last four years but considering the extent of the crisis, states such as Karnataka started using their own funds to offset lack of funds from the Centre.”

MGNREGA is a demand-driven social security scheme that provides for 100 days of work per rural household. The number of work-days, however, are allowed to be increased to 150 annually in case of drought, flood or a similar calamity. As per the scheme, the unit of one person-day is generally taken as eight hours of work.

Also read: Rural Distress: No Fund Left For MGNREGA for FY 2018-19; Budget Allocated For 2019-20 Less Than Amount Already Spent in 2018-19

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