Rural Ministry Seeks ₹ 6,000 cr More for NREGS
Additional funds for current fiscal to be used for pending payments, extra wage liability
New Delhi: The rural development ministry has asked for an additional allocation of ₹ 6,000 crore for its flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).
This year’s budget has allocated ₹ 48,000 crore to NREGS for FY2017-18.
The scheme has already received ₹ 47,499 crore so far this financial year.
The additional funds sought by the ministry in the third supplementary budget will help in meeting pending payments to the tune of ₹ 3,700 crore.
Part of this sum would be utilised to address the extra wage liability towards Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh which were declared drought states recently. “Some part of the payment has to be made by the states but we are now releasing payments on a daily basis and next year should begin with very small due amount,” said Amarjeet Sinha, secretary, rural development ministry.
The two states along with Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are eligible to get 50 extra days of work under the employment guarantee scheme. The average wages under the scheme will be increased by 2.7% during 2017-18. A new committee comprising state secretaries has been formed to examine the recommendations made last year by the Mahendra Dev Committee on the wage calculation methodology to suggest changes in wage calculation. Headed by Nagesh Singh, additional secretary, rural development ministry, the committee will consult states on changing the price index for calculating the wages for NREGS workers. The Mahendra Dev committee had suggested the use of CPI (rural) which provides a larger basket of goods for NREGS wages instead of the currently used CPI (agriculture labour).
The switch would have cost the government ₹ 3,136 crore during 2016-17.