For the first time since its enactment in 2006, the right to work programme - MGNREGA - has seen a decline, though marginal, in budget allocations.
This is even after a notification last month increased MGNREGA wages by 17% to 30% - indexing to consumer price index of agriculture labour.
The rural development sector too has seen a similar decline.
The ministry of rural development, which manages MGNREGA, Indira Awas Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, has been given Rs 87,800 for 2011-12 as compared to Rs 89,340 crore in 2010-11.
The central plan outlay is also about Rs 800 crore less than the revised estimates.
MGNREGA - providing rural households with 100 days of work on demand - is allocated Rs 40,000 crore for 2011-12 as compared to Rs 40,100 crore for 2010-11. The ministry had asked for about Rs 66,000 crore.
The allocation for rural housing scheme stood stagnant around Rs 10,000 crore, while the self-employment scheme - Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, is cut by R70 crore.
"Rural sector already received a lion share of the 11th plan and NREGA in fact exceeded the plan allotments. Rather than providing more outlay in last year of the plan period, it is time to focus on outcomes - which so far have been unsatisfactory," said Mihir Shah, planning commission member monitoring rural development.
The ministry is struggling to meet the Bharat Nirman targets set for 2009.
But overall, Bharat Nirman has grown in outlay.