Every state and Union territory in the country registered a lower increase in MGNREGA wages for 2021-’22 compared to 2020-’21, according to a notification from the Ministry of Rural Development.
Meghalaya registered the highest increase in MGNREGA wages, a rise of ₹23 from ₹203 to ₹226, according to the “state-wise wage rate for unskilled manual workers” notified by the ministry. It was followed by Tamil Nadu and Puducherry — from ₹256 to ₹273, a hike of ₹17. West Bengal saw an increase of ₹9 (to ₹213).
Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand registered an increase of ₹3. Rajasthan saw a hike of ₹1.
Kerala and Lakshadweep saw no increase.
The new rates will be effective from April 1.
The lower hike in wage rates comes at a time when the rural job guarantee scheme, introduced in 2005 by the UPA government led by Dr Manmohan Singh, has emerged as a safety net for migrant workers, millions of whom returned to their villages following the nationwide shutdown last year.
As on March 16, 7.42 crore households (10.92 crore individuals) have already availed the scheme, which has generated more than 367 crore person-days in the current financial year.
The Centre fixes state-wise wage rates for unskilled manual workers who work under the scheme. The rates are fixed according to changes in the CPI-AL (Consumer Price Index- Agriculture Labor) reflecting inflation in rural areas.
The wage rate for Jharkhand and Bihar was raised by ₹4, from ₹194 to ₹198. Gujarat saw a hike of ₹5 from ₹224 to ₹229. Three states saw a hike of ₹6 — Haryana (to ₹315), Himachal Pradesh (₹254) and Punjab (₹269).
Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura saw an increase of ₹7, whereas Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha and Telangana registered a hike of ₹8.