A delay in planting summer crops this year due to erratic monsoon rains also increased demand for labor under the scheme in June, a senior official said.
Sequentially, labor demand increased at a faster rate in June compared to the May level, reflecting the typical summer trend when this demand remains high.
About 44.23 million people opted for work under the scheme in June, up 2.3 percent from a year earlier, according to preliminary data compiled by the Ministry of Rural Development. The month-on-month rise, however, was around 3.8% in June.
Data showed members of 33.74 million households looked for work in June, up 6.2% from a year earlier and 6.3% from the previous month. Data is revised as updated information arrives.
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However, labor demand is expected to decline from July as workers shift to the agricultural sector for sowing Kharif crops as the monsoon rains progress, a senior official said.
Importantly, work remained suspended in West Bengal – traditionally one of the main beneficiaries of the scheme – due to alleged embezzlement.
Excluding West Bengal from the pan-India data, however, a 3.95% y-o-y increase in labor demand (in the individual category) in June.