New Delhi: Rajasthan remains the top beneficiary of funds released by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government for its flagship income generation scheme.
The state has received Rs5,942 crore, or 19% of the total Rs31,149 crore released by New Delhi this financial year till 11 March under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the rural development ministry, which runs the scheme, said in response to a parliamentary question.
It is followed by Uttar Pradesh, allocated Rs4,726 crore, or 15% of total funds, and Andhra Pradesh, with Rs3,781 crore, or 12%. The Budget allocation for NREGA in 2009-10 is Rs39,100 crore.
Rajasthan received the largest chunk of NREGA funds in 2008-09 as well.
Under NREGA, the government guarantees at least 100 days of work a year to one member of every poor, rural family. Launched in February 2006, at least 41.5 million households have benefited from this scheme. Funds are released to states according to demand. Allocation thus reflects the demand for NREGA work in various states.
“This is a demand-driven scheme. Funds are allocated to states depending on their capacity to utilize them,” said B.K. Sinha, secretary in the rural development ministry.
Rajasthan had spent 87% of available funds until January, Uttar Pradesh utilized 91% of its allocation and Andhra Pradesh spent 83%. Some north-eastern states have received the lowest allocations this fiscal, with Sikkim getting Rs54 crore and Arunachal Pradesh Rs19 crore.
Rajasthan also has the highest number of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe beneficiaries this fiscal, replacing Bihar.