Rajasthan Leads in Employment Creation under MGNREGA in January
For the month of January this year, Rajasthan emerged a leader in creating employment under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA). 2.42 crore new jobs were created under the scheme in Rajasthan while Tamil Nadu created 2.02 crore jobs.
Spike in spending too
Spending on MGNREGA is also expected to increase. While the total spending on MGNREGA last year was Rs 3,200 crore, by Feb this year it has already touched Rs 4,700 crore. Debasish Prusty, Commissioner of Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) stated that the percentage of timely payment to the workers has gone up by 76% this year, marking an improvement over the last few years.
Debating the cause for success
Officials believe that the reason behind creation of more jobs is the improvement in payment of wages combined with an increase in number of grassroot-level workers. However social activists say that the additional 50 days of work that was sanctioned due to a drought followed by a flood as well as demonetization led to more people opting for the scheme. This in turn led to more spending under the scheme as well as improvement in payment system. Mukesh Goswani of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangatan (MKSS) said that last year 14,487 villages were declared disaster hit while 5,656 other villages were declared flood affected. In these villages 50 additional days of MGNREGA were sanctioned. However even now there are problems faced in payments reaching workers. Firoz Khan, a social activist from Baran district said that there are huge delays in payment in some blocks in the district even now.