What in your opinion are the reasons for the downward revision of MGNREGA budget for 2019-20?
The allocation for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has been revised to Rs. 60,000 Crores for the Budget year 2019-2020 which is less than the amount which was allotted last year. The Finance Minister, Piyush Goyal has stated that the extra amount if needed will be provided by the government later in the year. This is not an odd situation as similar patterns have been observed in the last decade. 2018 also saw fund exhaustion which had led to a supplementary allocation of Rs. 6,084 subsequently.
The recent reduction has invited attention as many rural workers are being denied work and the ones who are enrolled are not being paid timely wages. Many activists and workers have blamed this on insufficient funding. MGNREGA promises 100 days of employment to all the households who want it and if there is no provision of work in 15 days of registration, the applicants become eligible for an employment allowance. The scheme thus makes work as a legal entitlement. Workers are also faced with long delays in wages and without any compensation. The future of the scheme is bleak as the highest allocation tag hides the pending liabilities.