The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown in the country cost around 45 percent of the total funds released by the central government for employment and subsidized rations to keep economic activity going.
According to government figures, this amount has been spent in the first four months of the financial year 2020-21. 9 million households got work in April and July through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA). Similarly, under the National Food Act (NFSA), 7.20 crore people were given ration every month between April-July at concessional rates.
Let us know that on 24 March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown which came into effect from 25 March and remained in force for the next 68 days. During this time it was considered necessary to shut down all manufacturing and service units due to fear of Coronavirus.
After this, a large number of migrant laborers started migrating. Most of them were daily laborers who came to cities from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.
According to the report, 2.42 crore households were provided employment under NREGA in July. These numbers were 3.89 crores in June and 3.31 crore in May. Under this scheme, a member of a rural household is guaranteed at least 100 days of work in a year.
Nikhil De, a former member of NREGA’s Central Advisory Council and a social worker working in rural areas in Rajasthan, said, “In July, the number of people employed under the scheme was small as migrant workers returned to the cities. Moreover, the laborers engaged in sowing work, which starts after a good rain in July.
The number of people getting 100 days of employment during this period is almost three times since 2019.
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