1. Home
  2. News

Govt Panel Proposes 70% MNREGA Funds for 49% Poorest Blocks: Report

The committee's recommendations aim to address the shortcomings of the MNREGA program and optimize its impact on poverty alleviation by targeting the most vulnerable blocks.

Shivam Dwivedi
Govt Panel Proposes 70% MNREGA Funds for 49% Poorest Blocks: Report (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Govt Panel Proposes 70% MNREGA Funds for 49% Poorest Blocks: Report (Photo Source: Pixabay)

A committee appointed by the Union rural development ministry has proposed a significant change in the allocation of funds for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).

The committee, formed in October 2022 to evaluate the effectiveness of the program as a poverty alleviation tool, has recommended channelizing 70% of MNREGA funds to 3,500 blocks out of a total of 7,245 blocks across the country. The objective is to target the poorest blocks and address issues of water deficiency and poverty.

Of the identified 3,500 blocks, the committee categorized 2,500 as water-deficient and 1,000 as poverty-ridden. It suggests that 70% of the budgetary outlay should be allocated to these blocks, ensuring a more focused and impactful distribution of resources. The committee also proposes a comprehensive overhaul of the program by linking employment generation efforts with asset creation, aiming to enhance the long-term sustainability and impact of the initiative.

The MNREGA, passed in 2005, is a demand-driven scheme that guarantees 100 days of unskilled work per year for rural households. However, since the assumption of power by the Narendra Modi-led government in 2014, budgetary allocations for the program have experienced significant reductions. The recently announced Union Budget for 2023-24 allotted Rs 60,000 crore, marking a 32% decline from the revised estimate of Rs 89,400 crore for 2022-2023. This downward trend in budgetary allocations persists despite the heightened demand for the rural guarantee scheme during the pandemic.

The committee, headed by Rural Development Secretary Amarjeet Sinha, conducted a survey across ten states, including Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Assam, Meghalaya, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. Its findings emphasized the necessity of adopting a targeted approach tailored to the unique needs of different regions, rather than relying on a "one-size-fits-all" model.

During the survey, the committee received numerous complaints regarding the implementation of technological interventions, such as the mandatory use of a mobile app for attendance registration and Aadhaar-based payments. The committee's report highlights that while technology can be a useful tool, it should not be regarded as the ultimate solution in itself.

Critics of the National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS), a mobile app introduced for attendance monitoring, have voiced concerns. Previously, workers' attendance was manually recorded on paper, whereas the NMMS requires two time-stamped and geo-tagged photographs to be taken at the worksite for each worker's attendance. However, there is a growing demand for discontinuing the app, as it is perceived to be falling short of its intended purpose.

Nikhil Dey, a member of the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, expressed concerns about the government's approach, stating that he was worried about the reduction in funds and the introduction of technology as they were hindering the success of the program. According to him, the situation was akin to a bloodbath, and it seemed like the government was attempting to kill the program.

In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi famously criticized the MGNREGA as a "living monument of Congress government's failure." In his parliamentary speech, he expressed disappointment that after years in power, the program only provided poor individuals with occasional manual labor opportunities.

Take this quiz on World Meteorological Day to check your knowledge about meteorology! Take a quiz
Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters