India’s rural employment scheme can build climate resilience
The current poverty line in India is at Rs 150 per person a day and work under MGNREGS can offer women around Rs 160-Rs 200 a day. That is around Rs 17,000-Rs 22,000 a year for 100 days of work. However, in 2021-’22, over 71 million households worked under the scheme but only 4.9 million or 3.29% completed 100 days, government data shows.
Despite a high demand for jobs, the MGNREGS budget was slashed by more than 25% this year.
Since its implementation, researchers note that the scheme has empowered women, and has doubled up as a safety net for those impacted by natural calamities or even the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly 59.74% of the annual person-days were paid to women in 2020-’21.
The government immediately offers extra MGNREGS working days and other relief support after “head-line grabbing” water-based events such as post-floods or cyclones, Bharadwaj observed. No such announcements are made through slow-onset events such as droughts, which go unreported in most cases.