Rural employment scheme receives lukewarm response in Punjab: The Tribune India


Tribune press service

Ravi S Singh

New Delhi, April 12

Mahatma Gandhi’s acclaimed and highly publicized National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) does not appear to have commensurate appeal to the people of Punjab, at least not for the past three consecutive years.

Or maybe the people in the state are comparatively wealthier than their counterparts in other parts of the country and have better alternatives to support themselves.

Many feel that the failure to take full advantage of this Union government’s flagship job guarantee scheme raises questions.

Either the program offers a “false dilemma” or it seriously needs some additions to the categories and nature of jobs listed therein to make the job package attractive to people in the state of Punjab whose economy is largely driven by strong agriculture, rural and related activities. .

Whatever the justification, the seemingly lukewarm response of targeted beneficiaries to this Center-sponsored program belies the constant reproaches of opposition parties against the Union government for being supposedly indifferent to the implementation of the program. .

The employment opportunities offered through the scheme did not attract the state’s populations in 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Data from the Union Ministry of Rural Development indicates that in the financial year 2020-21, households offering jobs under the scheme were 10.81 lakh, but 9.54 lakh of them took advantage of it.

In 2019-20, 9.19 lakh households were offered employment, of which only 7.53 lakh took advantage.

In 2018-2019, 8.34 lakh households were offered a job, but ultimately 6.75 lakh used it.

On the other hand, the release of funds to the state for the implementation of the program over these three years had gradually increased: more than Rs 598 crore in 2018-19; more than Rs 776 crore in 2029-2020; and over Rs 1,287 crore in 2020-21.

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