ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Case Study of West Bengal

Pandemic and Delayed Payments under MGNREGS

To contain the spread of COVID-19, the government resorted to several lockdowns and restrictions on economic activities. The first victims of job lay-offs have been the people working in the unorganised urban economy. Taking note of this serious predicament, a primary survey was conducted in West Bengal, which stands second in terms of the severity of delay in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme payment.


The COVID-19 pandemic has wreak­ed havoc on the global economy in 2020–21 and India is no exception. In the past one and a half years, an uncontrollable rise in the COVID-19 cases has compelled the Government of India (GoI) to resort to a series of curbs and lockdowns as a convenient measure to contain the spread of the virus. The perceptible slowing down of economic acti­vities has pushed the nation into a deep economic crisis, with the year 2020–21 seeing the Indian gross domestic product (GDP) contract by 7.3% (GoI 2021).

­After the arrival of the vaccine, the situation was expected to improve but given that the contagious COVID-19 is mutating fast and rousing the fear of reinforced restrictions at the work front, experts feels that the national economy will take time to recover from this shock (Dutta 2021). However, the first victims of job lay-offs, when curbs on economic activities were imposed in 2020, were the people engaged in casual works in diff­erent cities. The unorganised sector of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which absorbs a significant proportion of rural–urban migrants, saw a 46% dip in its business volume in the pandemic years due to which it was compelled to severely cut down on its workforce (Jacob 2021). Even in 2021, it continues to be in an appalling situation in the midst of a global supply chain crisis. Businesses that had resumed operations after the first wave in 2020 had to shut shop again due to the restrictions forced on the country because of the consequences of the second wave in 2021. There was nothing the
MSMEs could resort to for ensu­ring a continual supply chain as they did not have the financial capability to do that.

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Updated On : 7th May, 2022
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