New Delhi: Temporary shortage of labour has been reported during the peak agriculture season because of the employment guarantee scheme under MGNREGA but the country's overall foodgrain production has not been affected, the government said on Friday.

"The studies conducted on the impact of MGNREGA reveal that its implementation leads to reduction in distressed migration to urban areas as well as increase in wages in rural areas.

Temporary shortage of labour has also been reported in some regions during peak agricultural season," Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
The foodgrain production, however, has not been affected due to the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), he said, adding that the production has rather increased from 217.28 million tonnes in 2006-7 to 259.32 million tonnes in 2011-12.
"As per the census results, though the number of cultivators has decreased from 127.3 million in 2001 to 118.7 million in 2011, the number of agricultural labourers has increased from 106.8 million in 2001 to 144.3 million in 2011," the minister noted.
In order to improve convergence of MGNREGA with other development programmes, the minister said "the fourth edition of operational guidelines of MGNREGA" have issued to strengthen the synergy with agriculture.
Passed in 2005, MGNREGA aims at enhancing the livelihood security for people in rural areas by guaranteeing at least 100 days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
The average wage per day at present is Rs 126. Recently, the wage rate for MGNREGA was linked to the Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Labour and the revision based on that comes into with effect from April 1 every year to ensure the wages are protected against inflation.


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