Employment Guarantee during Covid-19

Azim Premji University,


This study examines the performance of MGNREGA during the Covid-19 pandemic in eight blocks across four states of India, viz. Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. MGNREGA functioning is analysed along the following dimensions: overall impressions of the programme among job card holding households, extent of unmet demand, wage payments, changes in programme functioning during the pandemic, and effectiveness of MGNREGA as a safety net. The blocks were chosen from a list of blocks in which Civil Society Organisations part of the NREGA Consortium are working. All blocks on this list were ranked based on their performance in MGNREGA as reflected in the Management Information System (MIS). Highest and lowest ranked blocks were chosen in each state and are referred to as high performing and low performing blocks in the study The blocks chosen were — Phulparas (Madhubani) and Chhatapur (Supaul) in Bihar, Bidar (Bidar) and Devadurga (Raichur) in Karnataka, Khalwa (Khandwa) and Ghatigaon (Gwalior) in Madhya Pradesh, and Wardha (Wardha) and Surgana (Nashik) in Maharashtra. A two stage random sampling was followed in the chosen blocks. In the first stage, five Gram Panchayats (GP) were randomly chosen in each block based on the Census 2011 list. In the second stage, 50 households were randomly selected in each GP from the MGNREGA MIS list of job card holders. The sampling method ensures representativeness of the results at the block level for all job card holding households. The survey was conducted in November-December 2021. Two reference periods were employed. The first covered the pre-Covid financial year (April 2019 to March 2020) and the second covered the Covid financial year (April 2020 to March 2021). This also includes executive summary of the report.

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  • Foreword
  • Executive Summary
  • Chapter 1 — Introduction
  • Chapter 2 — Survey Design, Sampling and Block Characteristics
  • Chapter 3 — Impact of Covid-19 on Employment and Incomes
  • Chapter 4 — Functioning and Impact of MGNREGA during the Covid-19
  • Pandemic
  • Chapter 5 — Conclusion
  • Bibliography