Over 9 crore employed under MGNREGA in 2020, the highest since enactment in 2008 by UPA govt

The numbers show that it has come to the rescue of India’s rural workforce as the country battles one of its worst phases of economic slowdown and unemployment

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
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NH Political Bureau

Over 9 crore persons living in rural parts of the country found informal work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in 2020 till October, a Right to Information (RTI) reply seen by NH has revealed. The rural workers employed under the Central government scheme is the highest till it first started in 2005, the RTI reply says.

MGNREGA, a legacy of the previous Congress-led UPA government, was described as a “living monument to poverty” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, the recent numbers show that it has come to the rescue of India’s rural workforce as the country battles one of its worst phases of economic slowdown and unemployment.

As per the RTI reply, while over 9 crore persons found work under the scheme in 2020, around 8 crore persons got work in 2019.

The RTI, which was filed with the Ministry of Rural Development by Tejpal, sought to know the number of the persons getting employment under the scheme since 2013. A table comprising the number of persons getting work under the scheme is given below:


Over 9 crore employed under MGNREGA in 2020, the highest since enactment in 2008 by UPA govt

The employment guarantee act, first proposed in 1991 by the P.V. Narasimha Rao government, was enacted in 2008 by the Manmohan Singh government. Hailed as the “the largest and most ambitious social security and public works programme in the world”, the scheme was termed as a “stellar example of rural development”.

MGNREGA aims at “enhancing livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year, to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work”.


Analysts believe India’s agrarian economy, which has largely been COVID-19-immune, is the only “‘bright spot” in an otherwise dismal economy. Through MGNREGA, the agrarian economy can lead the economy’s revival process, believe analysts.

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Published: 19 Nov 2020, 8:57 PM