Lockdown sees more workers enrolling under MGNREGS

The number of people seeking employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has almost doubled in Tiruchi district due to the lockdown and the severe strain on employment in unorganised sector.

As per the official data of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), about 80,000 workers had taken up jobs under MGNREGS in 404 village panchayats in 14 blocks in the district. The number would normally go down further during agricultural season.

Only about 40,000 workers had taken up jobs under the scheme in August 2019 in the district. The sharp spike this year is said to be the fallout of huge job losses all around, particularly in the unorganised sector, where thousands of workers have suddenly become unemployed after various organised and unorganised industries and commercial establishments cease to function either partially or fully due to the lockdown.

“There has been a sharp increase in number of people seeking rural job works for the last few months. We provide employment to all of those report for duty,” said Collector S. Sivarasu.

He said that daily wage under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Job Scheme has increased to ₹254 from ₹234 a day. The increase of wage could be another reason for the rise in number of workers seeking employment.

R. Shankar, Project Director, DRDA, Tiruchi, said that a sum of ₹175 crore was disbursed as wages to the MNREGS workers in 2019-20. About ₹60 crore has already been disbursed to the workers as wages during the last four months itself this year.

It had been noticed that a section of rural people, who were confined to their homes because of lockdown, has been reporting for employment. They were involved in creating farm ponds, sunken ponds, drench cutting, deepening ponds, desilting inlet and outlet channels and material component works, Mr. Shankar added.

Mr. Sivarasu said that several people had been demanding the inclusion of their names in the rural job scheme. New cards were being distributed to them. About 5,000 new workers had been included in the rolls recently.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 9:08:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/lockdown-sees-more-workers-enrolling-under-mgnregs/article32309337.ece

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