A recent data analysis by LibTech India, a consortium of academics and activists, has revealed significant changes in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for the period from April to September 2023. The data, sourced from the Union Rural Development Ministry, shows a 7.5% reduction in the number of active MGNREGS workers compared to the previous fiscal year.
In addition to this workforce contraction, there is an increased demand for employment opportunities under the scheme. This analysis raises concerns about the program’s sustainability and the need for strategies to revitalize its participation.
- MGNREGS workforce reduced by 7.5%, from 15.49 crore workers in the previous fiscal year to 14.33 crore in April-September 2023.
- A net deletion of 80 lakh workers in the ongoing financial year, adding to the workforce decline.
Increased Demand for MGNREGS Jobs
- A 9% increase in person-days, indicating a rise in the demand for work under MGNREGS.
- In 2022-23, 172.24 crore person-days were generated from April to September, while in the ongoing fiscal year, 188 crore person-days were generated.
- 14 States reported an increase in employment trends, indicating the effectiveness of the program in those regions.
- Six States experienced a decline, with West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh showing notable drops.
- West Bengal saw a 99.5% decline due to the suspension of the scheme by the Union government over corruption allegations.
- Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Tamil Nadu witnessed the highest increases in employment opportunities under MGNREGS.
The Need for Comprehensive Analysis and Strategies
- The statistics emphasize the necessity for a thorough analysis to identify the factors contributing to the workforce decline.
- Strategies are required to revitalize MGNREGS participation, considering the persistently high and growing demand for employment opportunities under the program.