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    Govt will allocate more funds for rural job scheme MGNREGA for 2021-22 if needed, as against Budget estimate of Rs 73,000 crore: FM


    NEW DELHI: As per the budget tabled by the FM in Parliament, Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) has been allocated Rs 73,000 crore for the fiscal year 2021. The allocation is up by over Rs 63,000 crore against Rs 9,500 crore in 2020.

    The government announced an additional allocation of Rs 40,000 crore for MGNREGA under the initial stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crore (announced in May 2020). This was done to address the distress caused in rural areas due to the reverse migration of workers to their homes after the pandemic broke out.

    Total expenditure under MGNREGA scheme during Modi-led government from 2014 to 2020 has jumped to Rs 2.95 lakh crore, against the expenditure of Rs 1.91 lakh crore during UPA-led government from 2008 to 2014. Consequently, the number of people who benefitted from MGNREGA increased from over 7 crores in 2021 to more than 10 crores in 2020.

    As of January 2021, total expenditure under this scheme was over Rs 85 crore, indicating an over 91 percent of fund utilisation with 306 person-days of work. However, the delay in the release of funds to beneficiaries -- though it has been conquered to a significant level -- continues to be a major challenge faced by the scheme.

    The stringent lockdown in the first quarter of 2020 resulted in a high unemployment rate and widespread loss of livelihood, as small businesses had to be shut down. In 2021, MGNREGA is expected to play a pivotal role in ensuring rural livelihoods. (Agencies)

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