Employment days under MGNREGS

Why in News?

  • Employment days under MGNREGS at a five-year low


  • The average days of employment provided per household under the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is at a five-year low in financial year 2022-23
  • The average days of employment provided per household is 42 days in this FY, while it was 50 days in 2021-22, 52 days in 2020-21, 48 days in 2019-20 and 51 days in 2018-19.
  • The demand for work under the programme has decreased this fiscal year compared to the two pandemic years, when a sizable population relied on MGNREGS to make up the income gap brought on by job loss.
  • However, a number of scholars and activists claim that the programme has been beset by structural issues that deter people from participating.

Various issues associated with the scheme:

  • Poor allocation of funds has led to suppression of work demand and delays in wage payments. 
  • These supply constraints have led to workers getting routinely discouraged from doing NREGA work.
  • The introduction of unnecessary technical complexities like an app for attendance at worksites has caused more hardships for workers.
  • Critics have also often complained that the cost of providing work has increased significantly since the scheme first started.
  • There have been concerns about the poorer States such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar not being able to utilise the scheme optimally but economically better performing states like Kerala have been utilising the scheme efficiently for asset creation.
  • There are at least nine States and union territories which have utilised less than 70% of projected person days.
  • With low utilisation, financial outlay for the underperforming States is expected to further shrink in the upcoming financial year.
  • Person days under MGNREGS is defined as the total number of work days by a person registered under the scheme in a financial year. 
  • Other challenges such as fake job cards and fake beneficiaries, corruption, late uploading of muster rolls and a huge pendency in the payment of wages are interfering with MGNREGS implementation.
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