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NEW DELHI: With certain states registering enormously high performance under MGNREGS amid a countrywide spike in demand, the Centre wants them to scientifically fix afresh the daily output that qualifies for a day’s wage under the scheme.
It is learnt that the Union rural development ministry has written to states to carry out fresh “time motion study” —which determines the task that constitutes a day’s work called the “schedule of rates”.
The Centre believes required output of work (tasks) in some states is much easier than it ought to be. Like in digging the earth, some have 30 cubic feet/day as the output fixed for daily wage, while others have as high as 78 or 90 cft.
Well-placed sources said the “easy tasks” are the reason why certain states are logging astronomically high turnover in MGNREGS in terms of days of work, known as persondays. Though high demand under the scheme was anticipated post-lockdown, many states are outperforming even by those high expectations. Sources said Telangana and Andhra are among such states.
As reported by TOI, Telangana is on course to overhaul its MGNREGS performance of 2019-20 (10.7 crore persondays) in just 80-odd days this year since the scheme resumed on April 20 after the lockdown. It has already done 10.3 crore persondays till July 6.
In 2017, an internal study of the RD ministry — Nagesh Singh committee — had pointed to the anomaly in “schedule of rates”. The ministry had decided to form a “committee of engineers” to work out the template for states to carry out the “time motion study”.
A worker’s output is expected to vary across states according to the nature of terrain — it is easier to dig on moist soil than on hard ground. But even after factoring in these variables, the ministry found that difference in “schedule of rates” was “unreasonable”. As per the work schedule under MGNREGS, a day entails seven hours of work and an hour’s rest.
Besides Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat are touching a high mark under the scheme this year— having generated 65% of persondays created in 2019-20. Andhra is around 62% of 2019-20 and UP is touching 49%. Odisha, too, has generated 43% of persondays year-on-year.

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