Reaching out to farmers, the government on Monday said it has decided to mark 60 per cent of expenditure under MGNREGA for agriculture and allied activities.
“To make NREGA useful for agriculture, we have decided that 60 per cent of expenditure under the scheme should be for agriculture and allied activities,” Rural Development Minister Birender Singh said on Twitter.
The government has been maintaining from some time that employment under the scheme would be provided only through works that are more productive, asset creating and substantially linked to agriculture and allied activities.
As MGNREGA completed ten years last week, Narendra Modi government, which was earlier critical of the UPA’s flagship rural job scheme, hailed the measure saying the achievements of a decade are a “cause of “national pride and celebration”.
More than 64 per cent of the works taken up under the programme are linked to agriculture and allied activities, the government had noted.
A senior official in the government said the decision to fix a minimum bar of 60 per cent expenditure on agriculture and allieD activities under the scheme was taken after the NDA government came to power.
“Earlier it used to be around 54 to 55 per cent. After constant monitoring, it has now gone up to 64 per cent,” the official said.
Celebrating the completion of 10 years of the scheme, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said the government was committed to strengthening MGNREGA and it has allocated Rs 37,000 crore this fiscal, the highest ever budgetary support to the scheme.
A Master circular was also issued on February 2, which consolidated all key instructions from the central government on the implementation of the Act.
The 10th anniversary celebrations of MGNREGA on February 2 had set off a political slugfest with the NDA government saying it has “transformed” UPA’s flagship rural jobs scheme by giving it record funds to boost economic growth, while Rahul Gandhi mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.