Women share in NREGS dips to 8-year low

An analysis of data available at the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) portal says that the share of women in the NREGS is the lowest since 2013-14. It has dipped to 52.46%.


According to the data, there are 13.34 crore active beneficiaries under NREGS. Of this, 6.58 crores are women. The data also says that the scheme had generated 280 crore person days for the current year. OF this, 183 crore person days have already been generated. This signals the distress in rural India.

The decline in number of women participating in the NREGS may be because of increased participation of men.

State wise

The national average of women’s share had dipped by 2.24%. Among the states, Andhra Pradesh saw the highest fall of 3.58%. The participation of women in the scheme in the state of AP was 60.5% in 2019 and has now declined to 56.47%. This was followed by West Bengal, Telangana and Himachal Pradesh.

The other states that saw decline in women share are Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, Gujarat, Odisha, Kerala, Maharashtra, Assam, Puducherry, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Goa and Karnataka.

Kerala had the highest share of women person days. It stood at 91.38% followed by Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir had that lowest participation of women. It stood at 30.72%. It was followed by UP, Nagaland, Arunchal Pradesh, Jharhand and Madhya Pradesh


The NREGS is important in the current scenario of COVID-19 crisis. This is because, the GoI has planned to provide livelihood to the migrant workers returned to their home towns through NREGS. The Jal Jeevan Mission is to be included in implementing the plan. Under Jal Jeevan Mission, the GoI aims to provide tap water connections to all households in the country. Therefore, the skills of migrant workers and other rural unemployed are to be used to implement Jal Jeevan Mission through NREGS.

The Indian Railways have also identified several works such as laying approach roads, bridge construction, etc. to provide works to the migrant workers under NREGS.