In an effort to boost income for the poor amid Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre has issued new job cards to over 83 lakh households under the MNGREGA scheme with the highest number of cards being issued in Uttar Pradesh.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is a social security scheme that guarantees 100 days of wage employment to all rural households across the country. Under this scheme, every rural household is entitled to a job card that can help them demand and receive work.
It has emerged as a safety net for lakhs of Indians that are undergoing economic distress due to Covid-19 as a huge number of migrant workers have returned from the cities to their villages in wake of the pandemic.
The number of NREGA beneficiaries from April 1 to September 3 is higher than the annual surge for the last seven years, the data of which is available on the government's portal. The country has seen a rise of 28.32 per cent from the 64.70 lakh new job cards issued during last financial year, The Indian Express said in its report.
21.09 lakh new job cards under NREGA have been issued in Uttar Pradesh, up from 7.72 lakh last year. This is followed by Bihar with 11.22 lakh cards, West Bengal with 6.82 lakh cards, Rajasthan with 6.58 lakh cards and Madhya Pradesh with 5.56 lakh cards. Even in percentage terms, Uttar Pradesh ranks the highest followed by Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.
According to MGNREGA rules, an issued job card can be cancelled only if a household has permanently migrated to urban areas or to another gram panchayat. It can also be cancelled if the card is proved to be duplicate or has been registered based on forged documents.
During the current financial year, 10.39 lakh job cards issued under NGREGA have reportedly been deleted so far compared to the 13.97 lakh cards that were deleted in FY 2019-20. The cumulative number of job cards till Thursday, September 3, stood at 14.36 crore.