Interim Budget 2019: Rs 5,000 cr more may be allotted for MGNREGA

The interim Budget is likely to allocate an additional Rs 5,000 crore to the Centre’s flagship programme MGNREGA in the revised estimates for 2018-19.


Already, Rs 6,084 crore has been allocated through the supplementary demand for grants and the revised estimates will take the total allocation for the year to over Rs 66,000 crore.


For the coming year (2019-20), officials said allocation could be more than Rs 60,000 crore as laid down by the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF), which would be almost Rs 5,000 crore more than budget estimates for 2018-19 but Rs 6,000 crore less than the revised estimates of this financial year.


“So far, we have got almost Rs 61,084 crore from the finance ministry for MGNREGA in 2018-19 to clear pending dues, while we have placed a requisition for another Rs 5,000 crore, which is expected to be allocated in the revised estimate,” a senior official said.


However, it remains to be seen how much of the additional allocation will help in clearing the pending wage dues as labour wage expenditure has already crossed Rs 55,000 crore under MGNREGA this year.


With almost 70 days remaining for the 2018-19 financial year to end, the actual expenditure under the Centre’s flagship scheme may exceed the budget estimates.


Recently, nearly 90 lawmakers, several prominent civil society members, activists, leaders of farmers’ movements and former bureaucrats wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising concerns about funds crunch in MGNREGA and how it is impacting work.


Besides, the last budget of the current government is also expected to fix a bigger target for bank linkages for women-led self-help groups.


Finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced in the Budget 2018-19 that bank linkages to SHGs are expected to go up to Rs 75,000 crore, but in reality, the linkages have risen to around Rs 88,000 crore.


A proposal to increase the central share of old-age and widow pension is also on the table which may also be announced in the interim Budget as a welfare measure, ahead of the polls.

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