Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget 2017 in Parliament on Wednesday said the allocation towards the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has been increased to Rs 48,000 crore for financial year 2017-18 from Rs 38,500 crore in the last fiscal.
This will be the highest ever allocation for the rural employment program, Jaitley added.
The government had spent Rs 47,000 crore on the scheme in the previous fiscal.
There were expectations of higher allocation to MGNREGA following the government’s decision to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes in November last year. After the note ban, a large number of migrant workers returned home as small businesses were unable to pay wages on account of the cash crunch.
The finance minister said that the participation of women in the program has gone up from 48 percent in the past to 55 percent in financial year 2016-17.
The MGNREGA program aims to provide at least 100 days of employment to every rural household by engaging them in rural infrastructure building.