Only 51 days of work was provided per household across the country in 2018-19 as against 100 days mandated in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), the Centre said on Tuesday.
While the Centre said the number of beneficiaries and budgetary allocation towards the rural employment scheme have increased over the years, the rural development ministry is struggling to meet the targets of the prime minister’s housing for all scheme for rural areas.
According to Rural Development Minister Narendra Tomar’s reply in the Lok Sabha, under the PM Awaas Yojana (Grameen) — restructured from the erstwhile Indira Awaas Yojana from April 1, 2016 — as many as 198,608 houses have been constructed as on November 15 against the target of 527,552 houses.
The minister said total 1,98,136 houses have been completed in Phase I (2016-17 to 2018-19) against the target of 327,552 houses. In Phase II (2019-20 to 2021-22), a mere 472 houses have been completed against the target of 200,000 houses.
On the MNREGA, in a reply to a question by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Pritam Munde, the minister said the scheme is demand-driven.
He said the Centre is engaged with state governments to set up systems to ensure the provision of work according to demand, transparency and accountability, and also take steps to create awareness about the scheme.
According to the data, Mizoram topped the list providing 92 workdays, followed by West Bengal (77 workdays) and Kerala (66 workdays).
The minister said the total number of individuals who worked under the scheme in 2015-16 was 72.2 million; it was 76.6 million in 2016-17, 75.9 million in 2017-18 and 77.7 million in 2018-19.
"The MNREGS is a demand-driven wage employment programme. It provides livelihood security, fallback option for livelihood for rural households when no better employment opportunity is available.
"The demand for work is influenced by various factors such as rainfall, availability of alternative and remunerative employment opportunities outside the MNREGS," the minister said.
In reply to another question, the minister furnished data that indicated that the percentage of people in the age group of 18-30 years finding work under the MNREGA has somewhat remained constant.
In 2015-16, 7.27 million individuals in the age group of 18-30 years worked under the scheme and this was 10.07 per cent of the total individuals who found work under the MNREGA.
The data stated in 2016-17, 6.97 million individuals in the 18-30-year age group worked under the scheme, which was 9.10 per cent of the total. In 2017-18, 5.87 million individuals of that age group worked under the scheme, which was 7.73 per cent of the total.
In 2018-19, 7.07 million individuals of 18-30 age group worked under the scheme, which was 9.10 per cent of all who found work under the scheme.