Congress in its manifesto released Tuesday promised 150 days of guaranteed work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), a far cry from the actual numbers on ground which do not even meet the current threshold of 100 days of employment.
As per government data, the average days of employment provided per household under MGNREGA between FY16 to FY19 stand at 47, which is not even half of the 100 days of guaranteed work. The average days of employment provided per household was 48.85 in FY 2015-16, 46 in FY 2016-17, 45.69 in FY 2017-18 and 50.48 in FY 2018-19 which averages out to 47.75 in these 4 years.
The data also shows that total workdays generated for FY2018-19 were 265 crore person days, the highest ever as compared to previous years where it was 235.14 crore person days in FY 2015-16, 235.64 crore person days in FY 2016-17 and 233.74 crore person days in FY 2017-18.
The numbers also manifest that in FY 2018-19, out of 5.25 crore households that worked under the scheme, only 49 lakh households completed their 100 days of wage employment.
Considering these numbers, Congress' target of 150 days seems somewhat unrealistic unless the wages are revised or fund allocation is increased under the scheme. But, the Congress has not made any promise of wage revision or increase in fund allocation in respect to MGNREGA in its manifesto.
The manifesto also talks about using MGNREGA labour in waterbodies restoration and wasteland regeneration mission without any mention of fund allocation for the same.
NREGA, a flagship scheme rolled out by the Congress-led UPA government in 2006 was renamed as MGNREGA in the year 2009 to guarantee at least 100 days of employment in a financial year to unskilled rural households at a pre-determined minimum wage rate.