Despite PM Modi terming MGNREGA as a ‘UPA failure’, his govt has allocated Rs 60,000 crore in the interim budget — the highest ever for the scheme.
New Delhi: In its last budget for this term, the Narendra Modi government has allotted a significant Rs 60,000 crore for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the interim budget for 2019-20. This makes it the highest ever allocation for the scheme at the beginning of the fiscal year.
In the budget estimates for the 2018-19 fiscal, the scheme had been allotted Rs 55,000 crore but the government increased it to Rs 61,084 crore as part of revised estimates earlier this year.
MGNREGA — which promises 100 days of employment every year to each rural household — was introduced by the Congress-led government in February 2006. In the initial phase of its tenure, the BJP government was accused of attempting to dilute the scheme and squeeze its funds. PM Modi had, in fact, described MGNREGA as a “living monument of the UPA’s failures”, in Parliament.
Budgetary allocation rising every year
Despite this, the budgetary allocation for the scheme has been on the rise. The funds for MGNREGA have gone up from around Rs 11,000 crore in 2006-07, Rs 40,000 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 48,000 crore in 2017-18 and over Rs 60,000 crore now.
The scheme, however, is entirely demand-driven and the government is stipulated to provide 100 days of work to each eligible family if they so demand. The allocation for it, therefore, is more of an indication.