MGNREGA has already used up half its annual funds

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published Published on Aug 3, 2020   modified Modified on Aug 4, 2020

-The Hindu

The study noted that wages in the scheme are 25-30% lower than the minimum wages for agricultural workers in most States.

One-third of the way through the financial year, government data shows that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme has used up almost half its allocated funds, spending more than 48,500 crore out of the expanded 1 lakh crore allocation announced following the COVID-19 outbreak.

A new survey of 13 States, published by the Azim Premji Foundation (APF) shows what that statistic means on the ground — a number of gram panchayats in vulnerable areas have already exhausted their funds for the scheme; lower employment rates as the monsoon stops work in several States, and fewer livelihood options for more than four lakh families across the country which have completed their allotted 100 days of work.

The APF has recommended that the Centre allocate another 1 lakh crore to the scheme, and double the permitted work limit to 200 days per household.

“The Gram Panchayats’ shelf of projects will likely end by August 2020. Therefore, a quick process of creating further sets of projects is urgently needed. In several Gram Panchayats, the approved projects have already been exhausted,” said the APF study, based on ground reports from partner organisations.

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The Hindu, 3 August, 2020,

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