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Work demanded under MGNREGA has increased by 307% in UP: Survey

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on July 05, 2020 Published on July 05, 2020

Human Liberty Network (HLN), a network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), released the findings of a survey conducted in 15 districts of Bihar and 6 districts of Uttar Pradesh with over 1200 respondents.

The survey titled “Immediate Requirements to Allay Rural Distress and Human Trafficking” revealed major challenges related to livelihood, access to health services, nutrition and basic needs after migrant workers returned home, which is strongly increasing their vulnerability to rural distress, debt bondage, and human trafficking.

The survey reinforced targeted and coordinated efforts from the State governments and community-based organisations, for the rapid implementation of support mechanisms for the vulnerable.

Bihar

Only 29 per cent of the population has active job cards. Only 37 per cent of Gram Panchayats have adopted special measures for single women workers, the findings noted.

79.8 per cent of Panchayats in the study area surveyed home visits by ASHA, 79.53 per cent of the Panchayats did not survey any VHND (Village Health and Nutrition Day) conducted in the past 2 months.

Uttar Pradesh

The unemployment rate has risen to 23.8 per cent in May 2020. Work demanded under MGNREGA has increased by whopping 307 per cent.

60.77 per cent of the Panchayats in the study area did not survey any VHND conducted in the past 2 months.

The survey noted that there is a fall in access to institutional deliveries. Purnea (80 per cent) and Katihar located in Bihar registered the highest fall of 80 per cent and 74 per cent respectively. Due to this fall, the women are not being able to access government benefits and instead are forced to borrow money from private moneylenders further increasing vulnerability to bonded labour and human trafficking.

The survey mentioned that there is difficulty in accessing benefits under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) as well. It revealed that most children have not been enrolled in Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) leading to cases of malnourishment.

UP’s Bhadohi and Prayagraj reported 57 per cent and 44 per cent unenrolled children respectively. Katihar and Saharsa in Bihar reported 57 percent and 58 per cent respectively.

The recommendations

The findings recommended that the state governments should rapidly expand healthcare schemes, including Ayushman Bharat, among the most vulnerable communities to address a key driver of debt bondage i.e. emergency healthcare costs.

It also suggested the governments Improve access to all schemes. It stated that As Know Your Consumer (KYC) compliance is the biggest reason for poor disbursement of free dry ration. The identification process of poor families without ration cards by JEEVIKA Self Help Groups should be strengthened.

Speaking on the findings of the survey, a member of the Human Liberty Network, said in an official statement: “The impact of Covid-19 and lockdown situation has been most severe on communities that are already disadvantaged and vulnerable to shocks.”

They added: “Our top recommendations are that the issues surrounding marginalized communities should be addressed through coordinated efforts with key stakeholders. The governments should adopt measures for strengthening the accountability of Rozgar Sewaks and improving monitoring mechanisms through the door to door registration of job cards for returning migrants.”

As a result of the lockdown, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been the worst affected states due to reverse migration, with 30 lakh people returning to Uttar Pradesh and 32 Lakh returning to Bihar as per the survey.

The influx of such large numbers is displaying a direct impact on the rise of social injustice in the region.

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Published on July 05, 2020
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