February 2024: Mass Jobcard Deletions in NREGA

This graph highlights the trend in worker additions and deletions in NREGA over 5 financial years. Percentage workers added shot up during FY 20-21, when the pandemic was at its height and migrant workers returned home in droves, needing NREGA’s guaranteed employment. The FY 22-23 increase in percentage workers deleted coincided with the Ministry of Rural Development’s mandation of Aadhaar wage payments in NREGA, as officials raced to reach Aadhaar-jobcard linking targets. It was easier for them to delete unlinked workers than try to get them included in the system. You can read more about this phenomenon in this EPW Commentary piece written by LibTech’s members.