Tamil Nadu

T.N. sets record in job guarantee scheme

Tamil Nadu, one of the States hit hard by COVID-19, has created a record in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the just-concluded financial year (2020-21).

After four years, the number of person days generated in the State crossed the 30-crore-mark. It stood at 33.4 crore person days. For 2020-21, the Centre had fixed a target of 27 crore person days for the State. Later, it revised the target to 32 crore person days. “This is a record for the State as the number of days of employment remained at 100 last year,” points out an official of the State Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department. When the generation of person days exceeded the 30-crore-mark last time, around 39.6 crore in 2016-17, the number of days of employment was increased to 150.

Salem was one of those districts that exceeded the target of person days last year, generating about 1.24 crore person days against the approved 1.12 crore person days. Kancheepuram’s performance was said to be impressive in natural resources management, water conservation and plantation. As many as 174 check-dams were built.

What was considered significant by the authorities than the increase in the generation of person days was that the MGNREGS ensured the disbursal of ₹160 crore-₹185 crore every week to the beneficiaries, proving to be a steady source of support to the rural economy, the official feels.

According to the data available on the website of the scheme, as maintained by the Union Ministry of Rural Development, the pandemic year — 2020-21 — saw an increase of around ₹2,000 crore in the payment of wages, compared with 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Likewise, in terms of families that got jobs, 10 lakh more benefited last year than those covered in the other two years. In other words, while about 56 lakh families were given jobs during 2018-19 and 2019-20, around 66.5 lakh families were covered during 2020-21. The number of additionally employed people last year was approximately 14 lakhs. Around 69,250 differently abled persons had also found work.

Development experts attribute the increase in the coverage of the scheme to the reverse migration in the wake of the pandemic.

Contending that the scheme was carried out in adherence with “stringent precautionary measures” on account of the pandemic, the official claimed that no COVID-19 case was reported from the work sites. However, 404 beneficiaries tested positive.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 8:00:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-sets-record-in-job-guarantee-scheme/article34340052.ece

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