UP has now decided to introduce all woman work sites and all women jobs under MGNREGS.(HT File Photo)
UP has now decided to introduce all woman work sites and all women jobs under MGNREGS.(HT File Photo)

Worst employer of women under MGNREGS, UP aims a turnaround

UP registered a whopping 87% increase in person-days generated under MGNREGS compared to the previous year but women’s share has remained unchanged in the last five years.
By Pankaj Jaiswal | Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UPDATED ON DEC 15, 2020 02:57 PM IST

Uttar Pradesh is the worst performer in employment of women under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the country.

This year during the Covid pandemic, the state managed to employ a whopping 1.11 crore people under the scheme, but this workforce was dominated by men. Now, the state has decided to introduce all-women worksites and women-specific jobs.

The state generated only 32.52% of women person-days of the 30.55 crore person-days of work generated this year.

On 28th position, UP ranks lowest in the country with only J&K and Lakshadweep ranking even lower on women’s employment index under the MGNREGS.

Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu are the top ranking states offering women work under MGNREGA with 91.41%, 87.04%, and 84.88% women person-days respectively.

During these times of pandemic, with focus on maximising employment generation under MGNREGS, UP registered a whopping 87% increase in person-days generated against the previous year. But women’s share remained unchanged in the last five years.

“Yes, over the last five years, women’s participation in the MGNREGS has consistently been low and lower than the national average,” said Yogesh Kumar, additional commissioner, MGNREGS, UP.

The national average this year has been 52% women person-days and the MGNREGS UP headquarters has started working to address the issue.

“We have zeroed in on some significant factors and have also prepared remedial strategies to attain 50-55% women participation in 2021-22,” said Kumar.

He said: “Socio-cultural set-up and physical intensive works are inhibiting factors behind the low participation. Women do not like to work in men dominated worksites and on physically gruelling jobs. So, we have decided to introduce all-women worksites and women-specific works--such as plantation, gardening, nutrition gardens, nurseries or organic cultivations.”

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The department is also going to make nearly 30,000 women MGNREGS mates for recording attendance, measurements of work done, and encouraging women to work.

The department also intends convergence of some other schemes such as NRLM (national rural livelihood mission) into the MGNREGS.

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“We will make cluster level federations of women self-help groups and give block development officers powers, including financial power that would also tide over the shortage of BDOs. They will promote horticulture, floriculture, vegetable cultivation, animal husbandry, and fisheries. Such jobs are not as physical intensive and are also of interest to women,” said Yogesh Kumar.

Now, all the citizen information boards (CIBs) on worksites will be made by women. Women will also be made para-vets (for animal care), bagwani mitras (horticulture assistants), and krishi mitras (agriculture assistants) under MGNREGS.

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