Despite the second COVID-19 wave entering rural areas and lockdown in several states, the demand for work under rural employment scheme MGNREGA is on the rise, according to data released by the Rural Development Ministry on Monday. In the wake of the pandemic, there have been casualties in operating staff for implementation of rural development schemes and those working in the front have witnessed casualties due to COVID-19, the ministry said in a statement.
As many as 1.85 crore people have been given work in May so far, which is 52% higher compared to 1.22 crore in 2019 in the same period, the Rural Development Ministry said. In 2019, there was no lockdown in the country as it was not facing any pandemic.
"As on 13th May, 2021, 2.95 crore persons have been offered work in FY 2021-22 completing 5.98 lakh assets and generating 34.56 crore person-days. The accomplishment has been achieved despite casualties either through death or infection among the operating staff at all levels, including those in the front line," the ministry said.
In the fight against COVID-19 in rural areas, training was provided to trainers on COVID-appropriate behaviours, vaccine hesitancy and to encourage good health-seeking behaviours and immunity building measures in April this year.
The training was given under the Deendayal Anyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM). Under the initiative, 13,958 state, district and block level nodal persons trained as master trainers, 1,14,500 community resource persons (CRP) trained by master trainers, it said. These CRPs trained 2.5 crore women self help group members, it said.
"Even though rural India has been hit by the 2nd wave of raging COVID pandemic, the Ministry of Rural Development has ensured that the development works across the country should not be affected," it stated.
The ministry also said that despite lockdown, the highest length of road has been completed this year compared to the same period over the last three years under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)