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Gujarat, other "richer" states poor performers in implementing rural jobs guarantee scheme

By Rajiv Shah
Latest data released by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) suggest that Gujarat, along with a "richer" states Maharashtra, Karnataka and Punjab, have been some of the worst performers in the implementation the previous UPA government's flagship job scheme under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
The report, titled "Employment and Unemployment Situation among Social Groups in India", was released a fortnight ago.
The report shows, nearly one-third, or 29.2 per cent of Gujarat's job seekers who got themselves registered under MGNREGA by getting job cards, sought but failed to get employment. This is against the all-India average of 18.8 per cent.
Just four out of 20 major states performed worse than Gujarat -- Punjab (30.4 per cent), Karnataka (30.5 per cent), Bihar (35.4 per cent), and Maharashtra (44.8 per cent). NSSO operates under the Union ministry of statistics and programme implementation, Government of India.
In Gujarat, 17.2 per cent of the 18 plus able-bodied rural population got itself registered under the MGNREGA. This is against the national average of 23.7 per cent. 
Giving a further breakup, the NSSO data show that of those 17.2 per cent which got job cards in Gujarat, 31.4 per cent got job (national average 50.5 per cent), and 39.4 per cent did not seek work (national average 30.5 per cent).
NSSO data say, larger number of scheduled tribes (STs), scheduled castes (SCs) and other backward classes (OBC) from Gujarat sought job under the MGNREGA -- 32.4 per cent, 22.5 per cent and 15.5 per cent (national average 42.6 per cent, 30.9 per cent and 21 per cent) respectively. This is against the "Others" category -- upper castes -- under which just about 1.9 per cent sought jobs under it (national average 14.7 per cent).
But of those who got themselves registered in Gujarat, 34.9 per cent STs, 18.1 per cent SCs, and 23.4 per cent OBCs failed to get jobs under the rural guarantee scheme despite efforts they put in to seek them. This is against the national average of 19 per cent STs 20.4 per cent SCs, and 16.5 per cent OBCs, who sought but failed to get jobs. 
The data are based on a survey NSSO carried out in 2011-12.

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