Women rule MGNREGS, with 56 pc participation

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Photo credit Twitter Ministry of Rural Development

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, August 2: At 56 per cent in the current financial year, the women participation in the rural flagship scheme – Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is at its peak, while average mandays for the last fiscal marginally dipped.

The government on Tuesday informed the Lok Sabha that the women participation in the MGNREGS is at 56 per cent in 2022-23, while it was 54.67 per cent last year.

The women participation in the rural flagship employment scheme was 53.19 per cent in 2020-21 and 54.78 per cent in 2019-20.

The MGNREGS was the mainstay employment programme in the rural areas during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had allocated Rs 73,000 for the MGNREGS for the 2022-23. In the last financial year, the government had enhanced the allocation to Rs 98,000 crore to meet the extraordinary demands in the rural areas on the back of the reverse migration following the pandemic-induced stress in the construction activities in the urban centres.

The scheme is a demand driven wage employment programme as per the Parliamentary Act, which commits the government to provide a maximum of 100 days a year of works in the villages.

The law also mandates that priority be given to women in such a way that they constitute at least one-third of the beneficiaries.

While India lacks credible data on unemployment in the urban and rural areas, CMIE, a private agency, had raised alarms by stating there had been jump in joblessness in both the urban and the rural parts of the country.

The CMIE had claimed that the unemployment in the rural areas in June this year stood at eight per cent, while it was 7.8 per cent in the urban areas.

The government officials, however, don’t accept the CMIE data, which is mostly referred in the country in the absence of credible official data.

Former vice chairman of the NITI Aayog Arvind Panagaria had shared a report on employment with the Prime Minister’s Office, which has till date not been shared in the public domain, and neither it has been acted upon by the government.

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