Ru­ral Min­istry Seeks ₹ 6,000 cr More for NREGS

Ad­di­tional funds for cur­rent fis­cal to be used for pend­ing pay­ments, ex­tra wage li­a­bil­ity

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Our Bureau

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.

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