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The demand for work under MGNREGA falls for the fourth consecutive month in September | India News

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NEW DELHI: The September job demand under MGNREGA has been identical to that of the previous month, noting a consecutive decrease in the fourth month of households seeking employment under the distress scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Around 2 million households looked for work under the employment scheme in September, which is a slight drop since August, when around 2.02 million households applied for a job. These figures, however, mark a sharp drop since July.
The decline comes amid reports that sections of migrants have returned to cities after the end of the national lockdown. The reverse migration of workers from cities to towns at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, captured by the heartbreaking scenes of families with women and children walking hundreds of kilometers to their places of origin, compounded the already growing demand for labor caused by the collapse. of the informal economy, as well as traditional work centers in the field.
After restrictions were partially relaxed on April 20, the need to work under MGNREGA soared compared to previous years. Up to 1.30 million households applied for work in April during the last 10 days of the month. In May, the number of job-seeking households increased to 3.46 crore and then 4.06 crore in June.
After June, MGNREGA witnessed a sharp decline that has continued during the July-September period.
According to the Ministry of Rural Development, the downward graph, which seems to surprise everyone given the dire state of the informal economy, is due to three factors: the monsoon, agricultural operations and the return of some migrant workers to the cities.
In terms of trends, MGNREGA is witnessing seasonal changes. Demand is lower during monsoons as workers are less engaged in their own agricultural operations, while largely finding work in the fields of large farmers. On the other hand, the demand is higher during summers and during calamities such as drought.
Following history, the fall in work is not extraordinary, but it follows the pattern observed in recent years. In 2019-20, labor demand increased from Rs 2.18 million in households in May to Rs 2.23 million in June before dropping to Rs 1.50 million in July to Rs 1.04 million in October, before recovering again to maintain an upward trend through February.
However, during the period of the pandemic, the margins of increase have been unprecedented.
If MGNREGA’s past is taken as a marker, then job demand may also drop in October before recovering. What will be interesting to see is whether the increase is again as strong as it was seen in the April-June phase. It will be directly related to the budget support required for the demand-based program.

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