Workers labor at a construction site in Dharamsala. (Photographer: Sara Hylton/Bloomberg)

Government Pumps In More Funds For MGNREGA Days After Cash Crunch

The government on Tuesday allocated Rs 6,084 crore to its flagship rural employment scheme, days after it was reported that nearly all its fund allocation was spent three months before the end of the current fiscal.

The latest inflow of funds, which are in the revised estimate stage, takes the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’s allocation to a record high of Rs 61,084 crore for 2018-19, the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation said in a release.

The scheme was allocated Rs 37,588.03 crore in 2014-15 and over the years, has provided nearly 235 crore person days in the last three years, per year. In 2016, the Prime Minister ordered the scheme’s digitisation and introduced ‘geo-tagging’ to aid in identification of the work and online recording, monitoring of assets to check leakages and for effective mapping of terrain for future development.

The government said that 100 percent geo-tagging has been implemented in 31 states and union territories. Since the inception of the programme, 4.08 crore works have been completed of which 3.40 crore has been geo-tagged and registered in public domain.

The ministry also reported 61.9 lakh completed works in 2018-19 through the scheme. As of Jan. 8, over 1.7 lakh ponds and 37,936 Anganwadis have been constructed since 2014 by people engaged in the scheme.

The ministry also said that five crore households have been demanding work under the scheme each year, with more than half the workforce being driven by women and over four lakh disabled persons being employed each year.

On Monday, nearly 90 lawmakers and several civil society members, activists and leaders of farmers’ movements wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concern over the scheme facing a fund crunch.