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narendra singh tomar: No plan to increase work days under MGNREGS beyond 100 days: Narendra Singh Tomar


Rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government has no plans to increase work days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme beyond 100 days.

The minister’s statement, which comes in response to a question in Rajya Sabha, is significant as there has been rising demand for work under the scheme in rural India after demand for workers continues to be low in industrial parts of the country.

The number of rural households that were deprived of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme soared to 7.8 million in January – an all-time high in this financial year – as states were said to have gone slow in providing work.

While there was demand for work from 26.2 million households in January, only 18.4 million got employment, according to government data.

The previous peak was in June, when demand from 5.8 million households was unmet after workers migrated from the cities to rural areas in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown.

This figure was 5.7 million in December. According to the MGNREG Act, one person in every rural poor household is supposed to get 100 days of employment at minimum wages every year.

In a separate response, the minister further said the government has taken several measures to boost the rural economy that is badly hit by coronavirus pandemic. This includes a relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), launched in March 2020, to help poor fight the battle against coronavirus.

“The relief package announced includes, inter-alia one-time ex-gratia payment of Rs 500 per month for three months (April, May and June 2020) to women Jan Dhan Account holders. A total of Rs 30956.97 crores has been released towards direct benefit transfers to women beneficiaries,” minister Tomar said on Friday.

Further Rs 2814.50 crore as ex-gratia was released in two tranches in April and May, 2020 to states/UTs under PMGKY for the existing 282 lakh beneficiaries of National Social Assistance Programme among other initiatives, the statement said.

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