Andhra Pradesh: Nearly half of MGNREGS workers remain unemployed

Hyderabad: 44.8 lakh people eligible under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) are currently unemployed in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The team at LibTech India,  an organisation that works on improving transparency in rural public services, looked at data from the past three fiscal years to assess the amount of money spent and the number of jobs generated under the scheme in AP.

Job cards, dip in wages and its effect on employment:

In the year 2021-22, only 55 lakhs of the 97.8 lakh job cards issued in the state are active. Whereas, 99.8 lakhs of people enrolled under the scheme are seeking employment. While a member of a household is entitled to 100 days of work, each household received only 51.6 person-days (the number of people working per day times the number of days worked) on an average.

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Despite an Rs 8 increase in wages from 2020-21, the actual wages paid to the people is Rs 216.2 per day as opposed to rupees 245 in the year 2021-2022.

AP spent Rs 10,900.6 crores under MGNREGS in 2020-21, the biggest amount in the scheme’s history. However, the amount spent fell to Rs 7879.7 crores in 2021-22, especially given the fact that the wages have increased for 2022.

Further, by November 2021, Andhra Pradesh had spent Rs 7,379 crores which resulted in the funds getting completely exhausted.

Why the employment rate dipped:

Owing to discrepancies in their Aadhar cards, workers’ bank account data is not updated in the new system. This is leading to the denial of work due to the incomplete migration of the payment system from Aadhaar to the bank account in the National Informatics Centre (NIC) system.

This had an adverse impact on the employment generated. After migrating to NIC, the availability of employment days has decreased by 45 percent, while the earlier year had an increase of 1.4 percent.

Of the 13 districts in AP, two districts, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram, recorded fewer person-days in 2021-22 compared to both 2020-21 and 2019-20.


MGNREGA is an Indian labour law that was passed in 2005 under the Manmohan Singh-led government with an aim to guarantee the ‘right to work’ to the socially impoverished strata of the society residing in rural areas by focusing on manual skilled labour.

The scheme, MGNREGS, mandates 100 days of work on demand per registered rural household in a year. It also provides unemployment allowance if work is not provided within 15 days after a demand is raised. It also entitles the worker to compensation if wages are not paid within 15 days of working.

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