A recent analysis of data available up to November on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) portal shows that demand for work has been at all time high.

Key Points

  • The NREGS is a demand-based scheme and has emerged as a safety net during the pandemic for jobless migrant workers returning to their villages
  • Despite a progressive relaxation in Covid-19 curbs to revive the economy, 96% gram panchayats have logged work under the scheme in the financial year (2020-21) as compared to previous seven years.
  • The number of gram panchayats generating nil person days of work (panchayats with zero person days work) during the current financial year are at an eight-year low of only 3.42% of the 2.68 lakh gram panchayats across the country.
    • In 2019, the number of gram panchayats generating nil person days during the entire period was 3.91% of the total 2.64 lakh gram panchayats.
  • Over 96% of gram panchayats across the country have registered demand for work under NREGS from April till November-end.
  • Over 6.5 crore households, covering 9.42 crore individuals, have availed NREGS till November 2020, which is an all-time high.
    • Over 265.81 crore person days have been generated, which is higher than 265.44 crore generated in 2019.
    • 1.98 crore households availed the scheme in October 2020, which is 82% higher than 2019.
    • Highest number of demand for work came from Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The wage expenditure has also reached an all-time high of Rs. 53,522 crore during this period.
  • Tamil Nadu has reported the highest figure of households that availed the NREGS across the country, since July and has been followed by West Bengal.
    • These two states were not covered under the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan.

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