Last updated: February 06, 2023, 5:46 PM IST
Chief Economic Advisor V Anantha Nageswaran said on Monday that the allocation for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MGNREGS) has been cut in the 2023-24 budget as more funds have been allocated to Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana and Jal Jeevan Mission, which are are expected to provide employment for the same group of rural workers.
Nageswaran also said that due to government measures, the money held by beneficiaries has doubled. “One of the reasons why the allocation for MGNREGS was reduced is that there is a much greater substantial increase in the allocation in PMAY (rural) and Jal Jeevan Yojana in particular. “…so the rural workers are expected to find jobs in these projects,” he said at an event here.
The allocation for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme has been slashed by nearly a third by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
MGNREGS has been allocated Rs 60,000 crore for 2023-24, almost 32 per cent lower than the revised estimates for the last financial year.
He further said, “If they (farm workers) are not included (into PMAY or Jal Jeevan Mission), then as MGNREGS is a demand driven program, we can accommodate them through higher allocation in MGNREGS.”
Nageswaran further explained the rationale behind allocating fewer resources for MGNREGS, Nageswaran said, as India’s economic growth next fiscal year is expected to be around 10.5-11 percent in nominal terms, also driving some of the rural workers will migrate back to urban areas and find jobs.
“So both these factors combined have led us to expect demand for MGNREGS to be lower in the next financial year,” he said. Sitharaman had announced an increase in the budget expenditure for the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (PMAY), allocating Rs 79,590 crore for the scheme. However, budget documents show that the increase is mainly in the rural part of the plan.
In the budget presented on Feb. 1, the government has earmarked Rs 25,103 crore for the urban component of the scheme while Rs 54,487 has been allocated for the rural component, bringing the total to Rs 79,590 crore.
In the latest financial year, Rs 20,000 crore was allocated for PMAY’s urban component, while the revised estimate for expenditure was Rs 28,708 crore. The Centre’s marquee Jal Jeevan Mission has been allocated Rs 69,684 crore, an increase from the Rs 54,808 crore the department is expected to spend in the current financial year.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and was published from a syndicated news agency feed)