NEW DELHI: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) welfare scheme is broke six months after being given the highest ever budgetary allocation in the Union budget.
The Union Rural Development Ministry is seeking a Rs 10,000 crore extra above the budgetary allocation of Rs 43,499 crore to keep the scheme going.
So far, Rs 36,134 has been released so far to the states for MGNREGA payments, a source said.
The scheme provides a supplementary means of livelihood for rural people, primarily during the lean periods and is not a substitute for other employment opportunities.
The Rural Development Ministry has cleared payments amounting to about Rs 12,581 crore outstanding from last year.
The news comes in the wake of reports that millions of workers are facing massive economic hardships due to long delays in wage payments in some drought-hit states.
MNREGA, the flagship scheme introduced by the Congress-led UPA government, is a demand-driven wage employment programme. Not less than 100 days of employment are provided to registered landless workers.
Congress has alleged that the scheme is being stifled by the NDA government, which denies the charge.
Assets created under MGNREGA include works related to water conservation, land development, irrigation, etc. Besides these, dams, irrigational channels, check dams, ponds, wells anganwadi assets were also constructed under this scheme.