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COVID -LOCKDOWN-POVERTY

Focus: GS2: Health, Social Justice

Why in news?

The COVID-19 crisis has a potentially far-reaching, long-term negative impact on Rural women and poverty. Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2017­ -18 reported that, about 42% or around 56 crore people were ‘officially’ poor before the lockdown was announced.

Impact  

  • PLFS data extrapolated for the year 2020 suggest that about an additional 40 crore people were pushed below the poverty line due to the lockdown.
  • Before the lockdown, around 16% of the population managed with ₹30 per day or less after lockdown it might reach 62 crore.
  • Massive reverse migration flows out of the urban informal sector will force grinding halts and hiccups for the economy

Solutions

  1. Regularise MGNREGA work with high payment
  2. Make MGNREGA more inclusive without any rejection of application
  3. Regular payment of unemployment dues.
  4. Increase the days of work under MGNREGA to 200
  1. Institutionalise urban employment guarantee scheme 
  2. social infrastructure in urban areas including slum development, drinking water supply, toilet construction, parks and common areas, urban afforestation and social forestry.
  3. Revival of MSME credit Capitalize NBFC’s to stimulate credit growth

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)

  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, MGNREGA, is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’. This act was passed in September 2005.
  • 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.
  • It covers all districts of India except the ones with 100% urban population.
  • MGNREGA is to be implemented mainly by gram panchayats (GPs). The involvement of contractors is banned.
  • Apart from providing economic security and creating rural assets, NREGA can help in protecting the environment, empowering rural women, reducing rural-urban migration and fostering social equity, among others.

Objectives of MGNREGA

  • Provide 100 days of guaranteed wage employment to rural unskilled labour
  • Increase economic security
  • Decrease migration of labour from rural to urban areas
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September 2022
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