Budget 2020: Government allocates ₹61,500 crore for rural job plan1 min read . Updated: 01 Feb 2020, 06:33 PM IST
- In fiscal 2019-20, the initial allocation for the programme was ₹60,000 crores, while revised estimate is ₹71,000 crore
NEW DELHI: The National Democratic Alliance government has allocated ₹61,500 crore for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for 2020-21, which is less than the revised estimate of ₹71,000 crore for this fiscal.
MGNREGS promises 100 days of work to a household in a year. In fiscal 2019-20, the initial allocation for the programme was ₹60,000 crores.
At ₹71,000 crore, the spend under the programme this year will be the highest since it was introduced in 2006 to stem distress migration of the unemployed under the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.
Analysts said the higher spend can be attributed to rural distress. “The agriculture sector is not doing well and rural distress is seen in the higher demand for jobs under the MGNREGS," said Himanshu, a professor at the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University. “The wages in MGNREGS are lower than the daily wages but still, people are turning to this as the last resort."
According to Himanshu, given that the government has increased allocation for MGNREGS in 2019-20 to ₹71,000 crores in the revised estimates, “the government should have allocated at least as much as the spend was in 2017-18."
In 2017-18, the scheme saw an expenditure of ₹63,887 crore.
When asked why the government had not allocated more funds for the programme, given that it had provided ₹71,000 crore under revised estimates, Atanu Chakraborty, economic affairs secretary, said MGNREGA “is a demand driven scheme."
“This year we went up because there was a demand for this in certain areas and the full money was provided. Next year, it is a usual normal level funding that has been provided for MGNREGA. If there is an additional demand in certain areas that comes up, in the RE (revised estimate) stage, we will meet it. Rural development has a large chunk this year, rural development and agriculture put together are ₹3 lakh crores. So whenever under MGNREGA, a demand comes up it will be funded," Chakraborty said.