Rural distress: last year of govt saw highest demand for MNREGA jobs in 8 years

  1. According to data from Ministry of Rural Development, the demand for jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) had recorded a marked increase in 2018-2019. Up to March 25th 2019, the work generated under MGNREGA was 255 crore person-days.
  2. This increase in demand has been attributed to increase in the frequency of climate-change related incidents such as drought or floods that had led to decrease in agricultural incomes. However, another opinion is that this increase in demand for MGNREGA hobs is reflection of overall unemployment.
  3. MGNREGA is a demand-driven social security scheme. It provides a legal guarantee for 100 days of employment in every financial year to rural households whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage. The number of work-days are allowed to be increased to 150 annually in case of drought, flood or a similar calamity.
  4. The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) monitors the implementation of MGNREGA in association with state governments.
  5. World Bank in a report titled “The State of Social Safety Nets 2015” ranked MGNREGA as the world’s largest public works programme, providing social security net to almost 15% of India’s population.