The turnout for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) increased in the State in the 2020-21 financial year, but participation of women workforce saw a decline.
The difference between the amount of person days (employment) generated by men and women is striking. The share of person days by men has seen a growth of 10.85% in the pandemic-hit year, while the share of women person days has registered a negative growth of 3.72%, when compared to the date of 2019-20 fiscal year.
“Had women workers’ participation been the same as the previous year, they would have received an additional ₹199.39 crore in term of wages,” says Chakradhar Buddha of the Liberation Technology, popularly known as LibTech India, comprising a team of engineers, social workers and social scientists who focus on improving transparency, accountability and democratic engagement in rural public services delivery, using the RTI Act as an effective tool.
In Andhra Pradesh, 6,28,349 new workers were added to the work force of MGNREGA through 3,85,833 job cards in 2020-21 fiscal year. This is almost 6 % of all the job cards issued under the employment guarantee programme since its inception in the State, says Mr. Chakradhar, adding that the report prepared by the LibTech is based on the data available in the public domain. Mr. Chakradhar, Director of LibTech for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, said employment provided to the beneficiaries in 2020-21 fiscal is the highest in the last three years, barring the districts of Kadapa, Kurnool, Prakasam and Nellore.
A majority of the districts in the State have witnessed smaller growth patterns. Prakasam district generated the maximum employment, while Nellore the least.
Not 100 % days of work
While the MGNREA guarantees 100 days of work per household, on an average, each household registered for the scheme in the State received a little more than 47 days of work. The beneficiaries in Vizianagaram district got more than 60 days of work while their counterparts in Kurnool got 35. Of the total 12,923 gram panchayats in the State, beneficiaries from around 5,000 of them generated more person days on average than the entire State. In other words, more than 60% of the panchayats have failed to generate as many as the State’s average person days in 2020-21 fiscal, said Mr. Chakradhar.
Speaking about the hardship of the beneficiaries who slog it out for the money they depend on to fulfill their basic needs, Mr. Buddha said while the country had registered ‘rejected payments’ worth ₹209.72 crore, workers of Andhra Pradesh alone were to receive 2.46 % (more than ₹5.16 crore) of the amount related to 40,000 transactions stuck at the bank-level.
The highest number of person days was provided in Vizianagaram district, but it figures in the last place in terms of wage amount withheld by the banks as ‘rejected and suspended payments’.