In his budget speech on Wednesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a budgetary allocation of Rs 48,000 crore for MGNREGA from Rs 37,000 crore in 2016-17.
The Finance Minister also told the House that it was the “highest ever allocation for MGNREGA”.
However, members of People’s Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), a Delhi-based NGO say that although Rs 48,000 crore might seems like a 25% increase, it is actually a 1% increase and insufficient.
This is because two supplementary allocations during the course of the year made the actual budget (revised Budget) of 2016-17, Rs 47,500 crore.
Moreover, PAEG says that according to the laws, sufficient resources are required to provide employment under MGNREGA.
The NGO also points out that “as of today, 22 out of 34 states have negative balances” and “a total of Rs 3,469 crores in pending liabilities have already piled up, even as they have spent 93% of the funds available for this financial year.”
Reportedly, the Supreme Court while hearing a PIL filed by Swaraj Abhiyan, directed the Centre to provide funds to the state government in connection with MGNREGA so that workers can be paid well in time.
This means Rs 10,013 crore will be required even to honour only the approved budget for the months of February 2017 and March 2017. honour only the approved budget for the months of February 2017 and March 2017. This would also mean there will be a pending liability of Rs 10,013.
PAEG also says that presently 54% of the wage payments continue to be delayed which is in contravention of the SC order which said delayed wages are violation of right workers.