In a latest development, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday about deletion of over five crore job cards under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in 2022-23.
The number shows a whopping 247 per cent increase than the number of deletions in the previous year of 2021-22.
In a written reply to the Lok Sabha on July 25, the Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh said that in 2021-22, MGNREGA job cards of 1,49,51,247 workers were deleted while in 2022-23 the number was 5,18,91,168.
While citing the reasons behind such massive scale of deletions, Singh mentioned about "fake" job cards, duplicate job cards, people not willing to work anymore, family shifted from Gram Panchayat permanently, or deaths.
The responses came after Congress members Gaurav Gogoi and V.K. Sreekandan asked the Ministry to clarify if there has been a hike of 244.3% in deletions during 2022-23 as compared to 2021-22.
As per media reports, the Centre's emphasis on linking of the MGNREGA job cards with Aadhar Card and making wage payments through the Aadhaar-Based Payments System (ABPS) are also playing a crucial role in spiralling deletions.
It has been reported that, this year alone, till June 23, 61 lakh registered workers have been deleted.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme focuses on enhancing livelihood security by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to the adult members of every household who volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
State-wise data on deletions
West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were among the states which saw the highest number of deletions.
In 2021-22, as many as 1,57,309 job cards were deleted in West Bengal, while in the following fiscal, the number shot up by over 5,000 per cent to 83,36,115.
In Andhra Pradesh, 6,25,514 job cards were deleted in 2021-22, which increased by 1,147 per cent in 2022-23, when 78,05,569 job cards were cancelled.
Similarly, in Telangana, 61,278 job cards were deleted in 2021-22, while 17,32,936 cards were deleted in 2022-23, an increase of 2,727 per cent. Gujarat deleted 1,43,202 workers' job cards in 2021-22 and 4,30,404 in 2022-23, a jump of over 200 per cent. In 2022-23, 57.43 per cent of MGNREGA workers were women.