MGNREGS work demand back to pre-pandemic level: Economic Survey

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New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) The work demand under the MGNREGS hovered around the pre-pandemic level between July to November 2022, the Economic Survey released on Tuesday said, attributing it to the "normalisation of the rural economy" and "swift recovery from Covid-induced slowdown".

According to the Economic Survey, which was tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in the current financial year, 6.49 crore households demanded employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) till January 24.

Of them, 6.48 crore households were offered employment and 5.7 crore of them availed it, it said.

"The number of persons demanding work under MGNREGS was seen to be trending around pre-pandemic levels from July to November 2022. This could be attributed to the normalisation of the rural economy due to strong agricultural growth and a swift recovery from Covid induced slowdown, culminating in better employment opportunities," the Survey said.

According to the Survey, the number of works done under MGNREGS has steadily increased over the years, with 85 lakh completed works in financial year 2021-22 and 70.6 lakh completed works in the current financial year by January The share of "works done on individual's land" has increased from 16 per cent of the total completed works in 2015-16, to 73 per cent in 2022-23.

These works include creating household assets such as animal sheds, farm ponds, dug wells, horticulture plantations, vermicomposting pits etc., in which the beneficiary gets both labour and material costs as per standard rates, the Survey said.

"Empirically, within a short span of 2-3 years, these assets have been observed to have a significant positive impact on agricultural productivity, production-related expenditure, and income per household, along with a negative association with migration and fall in indebtedness, especially from non-institutional sources," the Survey said.

It added this will have long-term implications for aiding income diversification and infusing resilience into rural livelihoods.

In 2019-20, 265.4 crore person-days employment was generated under the MGNREGS, which increased to 389.1 crore in 2020-21, and 363.3 crore in 2021-22. In 2022-23, 225.8 crore person-days employment was generated by January 6, according to data provided by the Rural Development Ministry.

Almost 99 per cent of wage-seekers are receiving their wages directly into their bank accounts through Direct Benefit Transfers, it said.

Around 14 crore Aadhaar have been seeded in the Management Information System (MIS) which is 92.0 per cent of the total active workers (15.3 crore). A total of 7.9 crore workers have been linked to Aadhaar Based Payment System, it added. PTI AO TIR