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MGNREGA funds dry up as more rural poor require work due to drought

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:11 IST
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  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is behind on the payment of wages in 12 states.
  • Most states have used up more than 95 per cent of the funds released to them so far.
  • Wages are due in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhatisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh.

The rural development ministry has requested fresh cash allocations for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) as it has run short of funds and is behind on the payment of wages in 12 states, reports The Telegraph.

The scheme guarantees 100 days of unskilled work a year to every household in rural India. However, the demand for work has surged due to the drought in several states of the country. The first six months of this financial year saw about 135 crore man days of work against Rs 160 crore man days in the whole of the fiscal year 2014-2015.

Most states have used up more than 95 per cent of the funds released to them so far, while 12 states owe workers back wages for work done. The 12 negative balance states include Andhra Pradesh (where activist Nikhil Dey claims the wages due are about Rs 156 crore), Assam, Chhatisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh.

The 2015-16 allocation for the scheme was Rs 34,699 crore. By mid-December, the rural development ministry had exhausted Rs 33,500 crore. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had promised an additional Rs 5,000 crore if required and Birendra Singh, rural development minster, had written to Jaitley last month requesting the promised amount.

In the drought-affected areas of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Andra Pradesh, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh, the Centre had permitted 150 days of work under the MGNREGA scheme. It may allow Andhra Pradesh and Odisha a further 50 work days in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year.

First published: 7 January 2016, 10:47 IST
 
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