Discuss the trends in share of younger population in MNREGA workers.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) guarantees the ‘right to work’. The act 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.

Trends in Share of Younger Population

  • The share of MNREGA workers in the 18-30 age bracket has begun moving up after the financial year 2017-18.
  • The total number of young workers (18-30 years) employed under MNREGA was more than 1 crore in 2013-14 which came down to 58.69 lakh in 2017-18.
  • But this trend has reversed and their number started rising again and reached 70.71 lakh in 2018-19.
  • This upward trend is expected to continue during the current financial year as the number of young persons employed under MGNREGA has reached 57.57 lakh for figures up to October 21, 2019.
  • The ratio of young workers among total MGNREGA workers was 13.64 per cent in 2013-14 which came down to 7.73 per cent in 2017-18 before rising to 9.1 per cent in 2018-19 and 10.06 per cent in 2019-20.

Signs of Rural Distress?

Experts attribute this reversal in trend to demonetization and the rolling out of GST. Both demonetization and GST caused disruptions in the economy, which many experts feel contributed to the slowdown. Forced to find means of livelihood the youth are turning towards MNREGA as a stop-gap arrangement.


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