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Government Allocates Additional Rs. 6,084 crore to MGNREGA

Government has allocated an additional Rs. 6,084 crore at RE stage to MGNREGA.  This brings the total allocation to the scheme to Rs. 61,084 crore in 2018-19, making it the highest ever allocation. Governance reforms and thrust on sustainable livelihoods through durable assets has ensured better lives for the poor through wages, incomes and durable assets.

Chander Mohan

Government has allocated an additional Rs. 6,084 crore at RE stage to MGNREGA.  This brings the total allocation to the scheme to Rs. 61,084 crore in 2018-19, making it the highest ever allocation. Governance reforms and thrust on sustainable livelihoods through durable assets has ensured better lives for the poor through wages, incomes and durable assets.  

Mahatma Gandhi NREGA is transforming rural India into a more productive, equitable and connected society. It has provided nearly 235 crore person days in the last three years, each year. This year as well, it will be around the same making it four years of consistent high performance on wage employment with durable assets for sustainable livelihoods.  

Over the last 4 years, the Ministry of Rural Development has completed major reforms in the MGNREGA to transform it into a resource for sustainable livelihoods for the poor. Generation of payments within 15 days was done only in 26.85% cases in 2014-15 and barely 29.44 lakh assets were completed in that year.  

A systematic nationwide exercise was initiated for plugging these gaps in partnership with States. Now these sustained efforts have started to show remarkable results. The transformation of MGNREGS can be gauged from the table given below which captures the performance of the programme in 2014-15 and 2017-18/2018-19: - 


FY 2014-15 

FY 2017-18 / FY 2018-19 

Persondays generated so far 

166.21 cr 

236.41 cr 

No. of completed works 

29.44 lakh 

61.9 lakh 

Individual Beneficiary Schemes 



Total Availability of Funds 

37,588.03 cr 

68,107.86 cr 

Total Exp. through EFMS 



Payments generated within 15 days 



*Figures of FY 2018-19. 

The first and foremost requirement was to ensure full transparency in wage payments, asset creation, and payment for materials.  It is for this reason that efforts were started for a 100% of geo-tagging of assets, AADHAAR linking of Bank Accounts, IT/DBT transfers for all wages, and material payments and Geographic Information System (GIS) based planning of works.  The intention was that work should be visible in the public domain and beneficiaries receive payments in their verified accounts. As on 08.01.19, GeoMGNREGA is implemented in 31 States/UTs and 3.40 crore works out of 4.08 crore completed works since inception of the programme, are already geo-tagged and are in public domain. Social Audit had a very limited approach and its implementation needed to be extended to the whole country.  Social Auditing Standards had to be developed, certified Social Auditors had to be trained, and women Self Help Group (SHG) members had to be brought in for faster roll out. 

On the technical side, while money was being spent on Water Conservation works, the technical training of the staff was inadequate and often many structures were created which did not give the expected outcomes.  It is for this reason that the Mission Water Conservation Guideline were drawn up in 2015-16 in partnership with the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation and Department of Land Resources to focus on the dark and grey blocks where the ground water level was falling rapidly. This partnership allowed us to avail the technical knowledge of engineers, scientists from Central Ground Water Board to build a robust technical manual and implement capacity development programme for the frontline workers. A special Barefoot Technicians programme was rolled out to ensure better technical supervision. 

There has been a remarkable increasing trend in the budget allocation of the Central Government and release for the programme from Rs. 32,977 crore in financial year 2014-15 to Rs. 55,167 crore in the financial year 2017-18. This is a clear evidence of the increasing faith of the people in the programme. The MGNREGS witnessed a record expenditure of Rs. 63,644 crore in 2017-18 including state share, the highest since the programme was launched. This year is going to be even higher. 

The issue of creation of durable assets was very important. The 60:40 ratio was mandated at Gram Panchayat level often leading to non-productive asset being created simply because 60% had to be spent on unskilled wage labour in that Gram Panchayat.  Without diluting 60:40 principle, the first big reform was to allow 60:40 at the District level rather than at the Gram Panchayat level.  In spite of this reform, the ratio of expenditure on unskilled wage labour to overall expenditure remains higher than 65%.  This has enabled a new thrust on durable assets that generate incomes.  It allows the flexibility to undertake only those assets that are productive. 

Another major thrust of the last four years has been creation of durable community and individual beneficiary assets. A very large number of Individual Beneficiary Schemes like goat sheds, dairy sheds, 90-95 days work in Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana - Gramin (PMAY-G), wells, farm ponds, vermi-compost pits, water soak pits etc. have also been taken up over the last 4 years. These assets have helped the under privileged to have access to alternative sustainable livelihood. Similarly, building of Anganwadi Centers (AWC) has been a significant effort towards creation of durable community assets. The AWCs act as a hub for the care and development of young children where the working mothers can also leave their children behind while they seek work. Nearly 1,11,000 AWCs are being constructed in convergence with MWCD. Solid Waste Management works have also been taken up on a large scale leading to cleaner villages, higher incomes, and more diversified livelihoods for the poor.  All this is being possible by permitting 60:40 at the District level rather than at the Gram Panchayat level.  The commitment to unskilled wage labour has not declined at all in spite of a thrust on durable assets that are income generating and livelihood diversifying. The following table illustrates the creation of community and individual beneficiary assets under MGNREGS over last 4 years: 


Community and Individual Assets created under MGNREGS 

(As on 08/01/2019) 

SL. No. 

Asset Type 

Completed since 1st April 2014 

Anganwadi Centre* 


Farm Pond 


Goat Shed 


Cattle Shed 


Vermi/Nadep Composting** 


Soak Pit** 


Other Works related to Solid & Waste Management** 


PMAY (G) & IAY *** 


* Community Assets 

** Community/Individual Assets 

*** No. of days for which MGNREGS convergence availed may vary per house, up to 90/95 days. 

Generation of person days each year is a reflection on the thrust for wage labour.  Since 2015-16 to 2018-19 so far, the demand for work has been high with average 235 crore person days generation annually in the last 3 years and even this year being no different.  These numbers compare very well with almost every year in the past except 2009-10 which was a year of severe drought. 

On account of reforms, it was possible to take up pro-poor public infrastructure like Aanganwadi Buildings under the MGNREGS.  The linkage of MGNREGS with women SHGs, infrastructure for Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) activities has also supplemented incomes of very poor households.  The skill development opportunities for MGNREGS workers to become certified rural masons, barefoot technicians or in other skill programmes of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) and Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) makes a difference to poverty in the long run.

The Ministry is making sustained efforts to improve the utilization of resources for raising incomes of poor households.    The focus is on the diversification of the livelihoods with multiple sources of income for them to come out of poverty.  The expansion of the women Self Help Groups movement under DAY-NRLM from less than 3 crore to nearly 6 crore membership has happened during the same period during which MGNREGS was being fully reformed to deliver employment, durable assets and sustainable livelihoods. 

The generation of payment within 15 days has moved up from 26 percent in 2014-15 to 91 percent in the current, confirming the governance reforms that have made this possible. The National Evaluation Study of the Natural Resource Management interventions of MGNREGA in 2018 by the Institute of Economic Growth New Delhi, confirmed the gains in incomes, acreage, productivity, water table and fodder availability on account of the NRM works. In that evaluation 99.5 percent assets were found to be very good/good/satisfactory, a proxy for the success of the governance reforms undertaken. The study conducted by Council for Social Development of individual beneficiary schemes under MGNREGS in 2018 has also confirmed the gains in incomes and diversification of livelihoods on account of MGNREGS. 

The Government is committed to MGNREGS for improving the lives of the poor households through a well governed programme with a thrust on durable assets, sustainable livelihoods and infrastructure for the poor. More financial resources will be asked for if needed, at the time of the Final Estimates, depending on the demand for wage employment.  

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