NEW DELHI: As drought is looming large across the country, the Rural Development Ministry has asked the Finance Ministry for more funds for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to bring relief to those affected.
The request comes in the wake of reports from the States of increased demand for NREGA works. “The demand for jobs is showing a stark increase in the last one month, especially from the drought-affected states. So, we are writing to the Finance Ministry asking for more funds,” an official with the ministry told Express.
So far, 10 states have been declared drought-affected and they include Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Gujarat, Bihar and Haryana are expected to be added to the list soon.
“The drought scenario in the country is pretty bad. We hope NREGA will be of some help to the people,” said the official. According to him, the ministry has also decided to transfer more than half of the funds to the states by June. This will come to the tune of `21,000 crore. The total budgetary allocation for MGNREGA this year is `38,500 crore. The Supreme Court had recently pulled up the Union and state governments for delay in payment, especially as drought is staring in the face many states. “You cannot turn a blind eye to drought. What is the use if the relief comes a year later? Two months later, that person many not be there,” it had said.