The government Tuesday said it has made an additional allocation of over Rs 6,000 crore to rural employment scheme MGNREGA, taking the total allocation to Rs 61,084 crores, which is highest ever in a financial year.
The additional allocation comes after nearly 90 lawmakers, several prominent civil society members, activists, leaders of farmers' movements and former bureaucrats wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising concerns over fund crunch.
"The government of India has allocated an additional Rs 6,084 crore to MGNREGA. This brings the total allocation to the scheme to Rs 61,084 crore in 2018-19, making it the highest ever allocation," the Union Rural Development Ministry said.
Over the last four years the Centre has completed major reforms in the MGNREGA to transform it into a resource for sustainable livelihoods for the poor, it said.
The governance reforms in the act and thrust on sustainable livelihoods through durable assets has ensured better lives for the poor through wages, it added.
Giving a comparison of the status of the MGNREGA when the Modi-led government assumed power and at present, the ministry said more than 29.44 lakh works were completed in 2014-15 which has now increased to 61.9 lakh completed works.
In 2014-15, 26.85 per cent of payments to beneficiaries were generated within 15 days which has now jumped to 91.82 per cent. The total funds allocated in 2014-15 was Rs 37,588 crore, it said.
On January 1, over 99 per cent fund of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or MGNREGA scheme was reportedly exhausted, three months before the end of the financial year.
Following this, 250 lawmakers and activists wrote the letter urging the prime minister to work for strengthening the scheme on a priority basis and "formally include it as part of the set of measures being considered to deal with the current rural and agrarian crisis".