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National Rural Employment guarantee Act

Date: 22 October 2019 Tags: Society


A steady increase in the number of young people, in the age group of 18-30, seeking employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is taking place.



The reason behind this rising trend of entry level workforce among MGNREGA workers could be a reflection of rural distress and lack of employment opportunities.



  • An analysis of age-wise data of persons employed in MGNREGA indicates that the share of workforce in the 18-30 age bracket began moving up after financial year 2017-18.

  • The total number of young workers (18-30 years) employed under the job guarantee scheme was more than 1 crore in 2013-14 which came down to 58.69 lakh in 2017-18. However, their number started rising again and reached 70.71 lakh in 2018-19.

  • Data shows the total number of individuals who worked under MGNREGA has also gone up in recent years.

  • Due to slowdown, the young people are forced to make their living out of subsistence level jobs, which is provided by MGNREGA.

  • The age group of 18-30 yrs is the entry-level workforce. In a growing economy and a young nation, subsistence-level job guarantee should be their last resort. The upward trend is a matter of concern.



  • National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 or MGNREGA is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the 'right to work'.

  • It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

  • Another aim of MGNREGA is to create durable assets (such as roads, canals, ponds and wells). Employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant's residence, and minimum wages are to be paid.

  • If work is not provided within 15 days of applying, applicants are entitled to an unemployment allowance. Thus, employment under MGNREGA is a legal entitlement.

  • MGNREGA is to be implemented mainly by gram panchayats (GPs).

  • The involvement of contractors is banned. Labour-intensive tasks like creating infrastructure for water harvesting, drought relief and flood control are preferred.

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