The Modi government will enhance allocation to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREGA) scheme by Rs. 5,000 crore, finance minister Arun Jaitley said in his Budget speech.
The ruling BJP had widely criticised MNREGA for distorting rural wages and creating artificial labour shortages in farms and small industries. “The government will enhance the allocation to MNREGA by Rs. 5,000 crore,” he said in his budget speech in Parliament.
The MNREGA scheme, started by the previous Congress-led government, is a social security measure that seeks to guarantee employment in rural areas.
MNREGA, unveiled by the first UPA government (2004-09), is a rural jobs scheme aims to provide mandatory employment for 100 days.
Jaitley said that the NDA government was committed to ensuring employment through MNREGA. “We will ensure that no one who is poor is let without employment,” he said.
“We will focus on improving the quality and effectiveness of activities under MNREGA. I have made an initial allocation of Rs. 34,699 crores for this programme,” he added.
In his last budget speech, Jaitley had backed MNEGA but called for restructuring it to use it for better asset creation. “Wage employment would be provided...through works that are more productive, asset creating and substantially linked to agriculture and allied activities,” he had said in 2014.