SRIKAKULAM: A record 5.19 lakh people are working under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in Srikakulam district, as the lockdown took away jobs, and those who migrated to other states have returned home and seek to eke out a living.
At this time last year, no more than 3.5 lakh people were working under the scheme in the district — a difference of about 1.7 lakh labourers. In the last 15 days, a whopping 90,521 new labourers registered. On May 22, the number of workers enrolled under the scheme in the district was 4,27,872, and it shot up to 5,18,393 by June 6.
Since the lockdown was enforced, about 15,000 migrant workers have returned to Srikakulam, and more than 7,000 of them were given jobs after they completed the mandatory quarantine period. Commenting on the trend, Srikakulam DWMA PD H Kurma Rao said the demand for daily-wage jobs in rural areas has increased because of the migrant workers’ return, but that isn’t the only reason.
“Most NREGS labourers used to be women, as the men used to opt for construction work. But with construction work being suspended, the entire family became dependent on NREGS employment,” he told TNIE.