Covid-19: Demand for MGNREGA work rises as urban unemployment grows

Despite a rise in Covid-19 infections in rural areas, the demand for work under the rural employment scheme MGNREGA is on the rise. As many as 1.85 crore people have been provided employment under the scheme in May.

UPDATED: May 19, 2021 12:43 IST

Despite the second coronavirus wave entering rural areas and lockdown in several states, the demand for work under rural employment scheme MGNREGA is on the rise, according to the data released by Rural Development Ministry on Monday.

In the wake of the pandemic, there have been casualties in operating staff for implementation of rural development schemes and those work in the front have witnessed casualties due to COVID-19, the ministry said in a statement.

As many as 1.85 crore people have been given work in May so far, which is 52 per cent higher compared to 1.22 crore in 2019 in the same period, the Rural Development Ministry said.

In 2019, there was no lockdown in the country as it was not facing any pandemic.

“As of 13th May 2021, 2.95 crore persons have been offered work in FY 2021-22 completing 5.98 lakh assets and generating 34.56 crore person-days. The accomplishment has been achieved despite casualties either through death or infection among the operating staff at all levels, including those in the front line,” the ministry said.

In the fight against COVID-19 in rural areas, training was provided to trainers on COVID-appropriate behaviours, vaccine hesitancy and encourage good health-seeking behaviours and immunity building measures in April this year.

Also Read | In Covid-hit India, 23 crore people earn less than Rs 375 per day: Study

The training was given under the Deendayal Anyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).

Under the initiative, 13,958 states, district and block level nodal persons trained as master trainers, 1,14,500 community resource persons (CRP) trained by master trainers, it said.

These CRPs trained 2.5 crore women self-help group members, it said.

“Even though rural India has been hit by the 2nd wave of raging COVID pandemic, the Ministry of Rural Development has ensured that the development works across the country should not be affected,” it stated.

The ministry also said that despite lockdown, the highest length of road has been completed this year compared to the same period over the last three years under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

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