21st May, 2018

MGNREGA allocation was hiked to Rs 38,500 crore in the 2016 budget

MGNREGA allocation was hiked to Rs 38,500 crore in the 2016 budget

In the 2016 national budget, the NDA-led Central Government raised the previous allocation for MGNREGA schemes by a whopping Rs. 3800 crore. This led to a total of Rs. 38,500, which will be the highest budget spent on MGNREGA so far.

The previous fiscal year had a budget of Rs 34,699 crore for the scheme with the promise of another Rs. 5000 crore depending upon justifiable needs by the states and the union territories.

The new budgetisation for MGNREGA came as a celebration of rural emancipation and dignity of labor for all. The boost was more significant as it came in 2016 which also happens to be the tenth anniversary of the MGNREGA scheme.

Gujarat has allotted 92.59% more funds to MGNREGA

Gujarat has allotted 92.59% more funds to MGNREGA

The Gujarat government hiked its allocations for MGNREGA by a massive 86.42% fund in the state budget, in March, 2016. This is the highest percentage increase in the state's allocations among all centrally-sponsored schemes.

The central government, which had earlier raised doubts about the efficacy of MGNREGA, increased allocation for the scheme by over Rs. 3,800 crore in the 2016-17 Budget. Union finance minister Arun Jaitley particularly highlighted the hike in funds allocated to MGNREGA in this year's Budget.
In Gujarat, the BJP government increased fund allocation for UPA's flagship programme, MGNREGA, from Rs. 405 crore allocated in 2015-16 budget to a whopping Rs 780 crore.

This is 92.59% hike over last year's budget allocation for the scheme to the panchayat and rural development department.

Corruption in MGNREGA was stopped by direct payments

Corruption in MGNREGA was stopped by direct payments

The corruption in the MGNREGA scheme was stopped by a large margin through direct payments to the bank accounts of the workers. These accounts were linked or are in the process of being linked to their AADHAAR cards.

Through the combination of the unique identification and bank accounts, the Centre has been able to better monitor loopholes in the system of distribution of funds.

Following this development, the budgetary allocation for the MGNREGA scheme was also raised by Rs. 5000 crore to Rs 43,500. In 2015-16 alone, the scheme had provided employment to 4.82 crore new families.

According to Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, MGNREGA is the most innovative Indian programme

According to Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, MGNREGA is the most innovative Indian programme

Earlier in this year, in July, the economist and Nobel laureate, Joseph Stiglitz, while speaking at the 'Global Inequality—Causes and Consequences' at the Azim Premji University, said that the MGNREGA is the single most innovative and efficient programme in India. He added that it is indeed a lesson for the world to learn.

Stiglitz is a professor in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York City. He is known for founding a new discipline of economics called ‘The Economics of Information,’ which focuses on the asymmetries of information and their consequences.

Stiglitz also added that providing employment was the most important in a growing economy, while ensuring rapid overall growth without being awed by the harsh reality of inflation.

47000 jobs created under MGNREGA in UP town in a single day

47000 jobs created under MGNREGA in UP town in a single day

On May 1, 2016, as International Labour Day was celebrated the world over, in the small town of Gonda, 130 km from Lucknow, a record of sorts was set—the creation of a staggering 47,000 rural jobs in a single day. This was not much publicized however.

Not only this, 15 lakh (1.5 million) person-days of work were created for the next ten days, leading to the spending of over Rs. 38 crore that was lying unused and on verge of lapsing.
As a result of careful and out-of-the-box planning, construction work was simultaneously started in 1,054 gram panchayats on a single day—the May Day of 2016.

235 crore person-days of work was generated by the Government in 2015-16

235 crore person-days of work was generated by the Government in 2015-16

The Government has often been attacked for poor performance vis a vis the MNREGA scheme. However in the previous fiscal, i.e., 2015-16, it generated 235 crore person-days of work, according to the report titled Performance, Initiatives and Strategies FY 2015-16 and FY 2016-17.’

According to the report, the programme has the potential of reaching 46.43 lakh hectares given a comprehensive range of works which include sanitization of ponds, construction of dams, fumigation and sanitizations of wells, afforestation, land development, water shed management works, and so on.
In the previous fiscal, MGNREGA benefited 33.61 lakh people, and 55% of the total beneficiaries were women.

MGNREGA has generated Rs. 1, 10,000 crore (about USD$25 billion) worth of jobs since 2006.

MGNREGA has generated Rs. 1, 10,000 crore (about USD$25 billion) worth of jobs since 2006.

Since its implementation in 2006, MGNREGA had generated jobs across all districts of India, which is currently worth Rs. 1, 10,000 crore. The scheme has touched 1200 crore person-days of work, and touched 12 crore families, all across the country. Initially, the government had started out in 200 districts of India, but the scheme has now spread to all the districts of the country. In some of the drought and flood hit areas, the government has increased the number of person-days of work to 150, from 100, and it plans to increase it to a prospective 200 person-days a year.

The Government used WhatsApp to Accelerate Work for MGNREGA

The Government used WhatsApp to Accelerate Work for MGNREGA

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act Scheme was accelerated in its distribution of employment opportunities and funds by informing State Governments about allocation of funds. The Government informed the States of creating job opportunities more judiciously under MGNREGA. By July, 2016, 30 million additional days of work were created over an above what the Central Government had approved. By September, there was a deficit of 55 million in the number of person-days of work approved by the Centre.

The Government chose to smoothen communication by creating a WhatsApp group called ENCORE or ‘Enabling Communication on Rural Employment’ on behalf of the rural development ministry, which had all senior ministry officials and state-level MGNREGA officials as members.

According to the Ministry, the tool was a very effective means of governmental communication, given that “it [was] simply a convenience for follow-up and reminders as also for showcasing good work by states through uploading of pictures.”