After falling for three months, demand for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) rose marginally in September. It has raised questions about the stability of the labour market, according to a report by Economic Times (ET).
With a dip in farm jobs, the numbers may go up, the report added. In September, the demand for MGNREGA jobs rose by 5 per cent as compared to August. However, this was lower than September 2021.
“Anticipating a dip in demand for agriculture jobs in the foreseeable future, there will be more demand for work under MGNREGA,” labour economist KR Shyam Sundar was quoted by ET as saying.
He further added that unless the product market regains a good position, the labour market will not recover. “We need solid plateauing of demand for job cards to say that the labour market is on the path of recovery,” he said.
However, a government official said that the numbers may not be a true reflection of the labour market.
“There are seasonal variations in work demand under the scheme. Though the numbers are still higher, we expect them to stabilise closer to pre-Covid levels in a year if everything else remains the same,” the official told ET.
According to data, the household demand under the scheme stood at 16.7 million in September. This was significantly lower than the demand in 2021 of 24 million. The individual demand in 2022 was 15.9 million as compared to 30.2 million in 2021.