Modi to spend a record Rs. 60,000 crore on what was UPA flagship scheme
About Rs. 60,000 crore may be spent by the Modi government in the current fiscal year on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The scheme started as an initiative of the previous UPA government.
The Union Budget had allocated Rs. 38,500 crore towards the programme for 2016-17, to which another Rs. 5,000 crore was added during the first batch of supplementary demand for grants in the monsoon session of Parliament in August.
The Rural Development Ministry has sought an additional Rs. 10,000 crore, which is likely to receive approval in the next batch of supplementary grants during the coming winter session. It is estimated that the total MGNREGA expenditure this fiscal will approximate Rs. 59,000 crore. Of this amount, Rs. 12,581.64 crore would be spent on clearing all dues in wage and for material payments for 2015-16. But even after adjusting the debts, the effective expenditure for 2016-17 would be well over Rs. 46,000 crore, which is the highest so far. The programme generated a mere 166.21 crore person-days of employment in 2014-15, despite experiencing drought. This figure when compared to the preceding years, especially 2009-10, proves to be very low. The average days of employment provided per household too fell to 40.17 from the previous record of 53.91 days from the best recorded performance year, 2009-10.
2015-16, witnessed public pressure and a countrywide drought following consecutive monsoon failures. Not only did the expenditure on MGNREGA shoot up by nearly 22 per cent to Rs. 43,906.01 crore (excluding the spill-over liability of Rs. 12,581.64crore), the total person-days generated also touched 235.21 crore (the highest since 2010-11). There was also an upswing in the average days of employment per household to 48.87.
These numbers have further improved in 2016-17. 138.32 crore person-days of employment has been generated so far. 2015-16 recorded 116.06 crore person-days of employment at the same time. The number of person-days generated in April-June 2016 crossed 89 crore, which was way above the 54.59 crore generated till mid-2015.
Another important fact is that 51.77 per cent of wage payments have been made within 15 days. The proportion of timely payments was 73-74 per cent.