The BJP ruled Gujarat government in a report released last week praised the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) calling it a savior for the migrant workers during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani released the report on June 5 titled ‘Implications of COVID-19 on Gujarat on Energy, Emissions, Climate and Development Perspectives’ on the occasion of World Environment Day.
MNREGA guarantees work for rural folk with pre-decided minimum wage. The programme was launched by the United Progressive Alliance government led by the Congress party in 2006.
According to the report, MGNREGA served as a “life saver" for the migrant laborers who returned to their villages after the lockdown last year. The labourers consider the earning under MNREGA ‘to be sufficient to sustain their families during the COVID-19 induced crisis situation’, the report added.
The state’s climate change agency compiled this report with support from IIM Ahmedabad and IIT Gandhinagar. According to the research, the government should give agriculture “priority" as a solution to the situation. The state government should design a ‘new MNREGA strategy’ to recoup from the loss following covid in rural areas, according to the study, which cites a number of regions, including the tribal district of Dahod.
According to the report, ‘about one lakh’ migrant laborers returned to their villages in Dahod district alone after covid-19 last year. Dahod has the highest number of labourers under MNREGA at 2.38 lakh in the state.