Kanika Mahajan
Ashoka University
Farzana Afridi
ISI Delhi
Nikita Sangwan
ISI Delhi
IZA Discussion Paper, Feb 2021, 14099
JEL Codes:
H31, J68
● Employment Guaranteed? Social Protection during a Pandemic
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The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the potential of social protection programs in addressing labor market shocks. We examine the role of two nation-wide employment guarantee programs in cushioning job losses in one of the worst affected economies due to the pandemic - India. While the MG-NREGA is an existing public employment program in rural areas, which was bolstered following the pandemic, PM-GKRA program was initiated specifically targeting migrant workers who lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic. Our findings show that an increase in provision of work days under MG-NREGA reduced job losses in rural areas, more so for women and older individuals aged 30 years and above, as the restrictions eased. The districts with PM- GKRA program witnessed a lower reduction in the employment rate, but only for urban women and older workforce. These findings indicate that employment guarantee programs can benefit certain demographic groups relatively more than others depending on the wage and skill level of work offered.

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