Around 27.3 million households demanded work under MGNREGA in April 2021, among the highest for the month in recent times.
This comes as migrants once again returned to their homes due to the second wave of Covid-19 and several cities went into lockdowns.
The high work demand for MGNREGA in April is, however, in line with the trend seen since FY21.
During the financial year, MGNREGA work demand consistently remained at an elevated level as compared to the previous years though month-on-month there was a fall from the peak seen in May and June 2020 as economic activity resumed in cities after the lockdown.
In FY21, as many as 11 crore individuals got work under the scheme, the highest since its inception in 2006. Around 390 crore person-days of work was generated under the scheme, which was also the highest since its launch.
The money spent under the scheme for wages and materials alongside administrative expenses was over Rs 1.1 trillion of which a whopping Rs 78,000 crore went towards payment of wages, which was in itself a record.
The data shows that around 8.3 million works were taken up and created under the scheme in FY21, which was around 11.26 per cent more than FY20.
Around 7.8 million households completed 100 days of work under the scheme. The average days of employment provided was a high 52 days, much higher than the 40-42 days of work provided in the previous few years.
Surprisingly, West Bengal, which has been facing all-round flak in the election season for not implementing central schemes, did well when it came to implementing MGNREGA in FY21 or spending funds allocated.
The state provided work to 11.8 million people in FY21 — the highest in the country — and was among the top states in spending money under the scheme in FY21.
It utilised around Rs 10,403.13 crore for MGNREGA, next only to Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, when it came to spending the allocated funds.
For FY22, the Union Budget had allocated Rs 73,000 crore for MGNREGA of which experts said at least 24 per cent will go towards clearing pending dues.
Of this, pending dues for FY21, as on April 14, 2021, is around Rs 1,555.29 crore (just around 9 per cent), while the bulk relates to material component, estimated to be around Rs 15,444.56 crore.