The Madhya Pradesh government owes over Rs 400 crore by way of wages for labour and material cost to beneficiaries across the state under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), but has just Rs 32 crore to clear the dues.
The state had prepared a labour budget of Rs 4,668.08 crore for the fiscal 2015-15, but till February 24 only Rs 2,870.52 crore, including the dues, has been spent under the scheme.
State received Rs 200 crore less from the Centre under the scheme as compared to previous year.
According to information collected by Samarthan, a voluntary agency, the state government also received almost Rs 200 crore less from the Union government under the scheme as compared to the previous year.
While in the previous fiscal (2014-15) the Union government transferred Rs 2,451.63 crore, in 2015-16 the state received only Rs 2,244.75 crore from the Centre. In 2013-14, the total spending under MNREGS was Rs 2,453 crore, including the state’s share.
Of the approximate Rs 400 crore due, Rs 285 crore is compensation for labour performed by the poorest of the poor. Under the MNREGS, payment to labourers cannot be delayed beyond 15 days and in case of a delay, labourers have to be compensated by making additional payment along with the due amount.
The flagship scheme of the previous UPA government has been openly criticised by the NDA leadership at the Centre. However, the Union government has not withdrawn the scheme.
”There has been a decline in funding of all schemes”
“It is not just the MNREGS, but there has been a decline in funding of all schemes,” said Samarthan’s Yogesh Kumar.
“We have written to the Union government to release the funds. Payments would be made very soon. We have also asked for funds to make compensatory payment due to the delay,” said state rural development minister Gopal Bhargava.
Sources in the rural development department said there was fund crunch in the past due to Central government’s delay in releasing the money. The rural development department diverted almost Rs 350 from other schemes to make payment for labour and material under MNREGS. Consequently, other schemes have been adversely affected as well.