MGNREGA has appeared as a safety net for lakhs amid the economic crisis triggered by pandemic. Over 83 lakh new households have been assigned job cards under the project during the first five months of the current financial year. This number — from April 1 to September 3— is higher than the annual surge for the last seven years.
This is a jump of 28.32 per cent from the 64.70 lakh new job cards alotted in the entire 2019-20 year.
This sharp rise in new job cards comes at a time when a large number of migrants have returned to their villages due to the pandemic.
Of the 83.02 lakh new job cards, the highest have been added in Uttar Pradesh (21.09 lakh), followed by Bihar (11.22 lakh), West Bengal (6.82 lakh), Rajasthan (6.58 lakh) and Madhya Pradesh (5.56 lakh) — states which received a large number of returning migrants.
Under MGNREGA, every rural household is allowed to have a job card, which has names and photographs of all adult members of the family who can demand and receive work.
According to MGNREGA rules, the job card can be cancelled if a household has “migrated permanently to urban areas; or to a different gram panchayat; or it is proved to be a duplicate; or it has been registered based on forged documents”.
The data shows that 10.39 lakh NREGA job cards have been removed so far this financial year — 13.97 lakh cards were removed in 2019-20.
As of September 3, 2020, the cumulative number of job cards stands at 14.36 crore.