Ministry may ask for more funds for rural job scheme

New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) The Union Ministry of Rural Development may ask for additional funds for the rural employment guarantee scheme MGNREGA if there is a hike in the demands for works, an official said on Tuesday.

“The government sanctioned around Rs 38,500 crore for the current financial year. In the first budgetary supplement, an additional Rs 5,000 crore was released in the month of November and Rs 4,000 is likely to be allocated as the second supplement for the scheme,” an official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

This is the highest-ever allocation under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme (MGNREGA).

State governments contribute around 25 per cent for the material expenses of the scheme. The central government’s share in the scheme is around 90 per cent. On an average, the total contribution of all the state governments to the scheme is around Rs 4,000 crore.

On the issue of decline in demand and allocation of work under the scheme in the past two months, the official said: “These months being the agricultural sowing season, we generally see a drop in the demands across the nation.”

“In comparison to last year, which was a drought year, this year we had good monsoon, creating more agricultural jobs.”

“We have increased the labour budget for the states like Karnataka, which is facing drought for the the third consecutive year. In addition, some states, including Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where small pockets of a few districts are facing drought-like conditions, will also get additional budget.”

There has been a steady decline in the month-wise household demand for the scheme since September this year.

“Till today Rs 40,000 crore, including Rs 12,651 crore carried forward from the last financial year, have been released,” said the official.

He added: “In the last 10 days, we have released around Rs 3,000 crore and with this we are left with around Rs 7,000-6,000 crore for the rest of the financial year.”

The ministry on Tuesday released funds to the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Mizoram for the works to be executed by the month of January, the official added.

In this financial year, the scheme carries wage liability to the tune of Rs 410 crore from the last financial year.