The Centre is committed to releasing funds for proper implementation of its flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme, the Rural Development Ministry said on Saturday. This statement comes a day after The Hindu had reported that the scheme faces a negative net balance of ₹8,686 crore, including payments due.
“Government of India is committed to release funds for wage and material payments for proper implementation of the scheme, as per provisions of the act and guidelines applicable for Central Government as well as State Governments. Whenever additional fund is required, the Ministry of Finance is requested to provide the funds,” said the Ministry statement, adding that last year, the Finance Ministry had allocated ₹50,000 crore additional funds for the scheme over and above the initial budget estimate.
As The Hindu had reported, such supplementary budget allocations can only be approved by the next session of Parliament, which is scheduled to begin in a month’s time.
“Fund release towards wage and material is a continuous process,” said the RD Ministry, noting that the initial budget allocation for the current financial year was 18% higher than the budget estimate for the previous year. “During the current FY, so far more than ₹63,793 crore funds have been released for the implementation of the scheme in the States/UTs. Currently ₹8,921 crore funds are available which can meet the wage liability equal to this current availability,” it said.
The Ministry added that more than 222 crore person-days of work has been generated under the scheme in the current financial year, providing wage employment for more than six crore households.