Union Budget 2019-20: First time in five years, MGNREGA gets Rs 1,084 crore less

Budget allocation for Ministry of Rural Development gets Rs 5,200 crore extra

By Richard Mahapatra
Published: Friday 05 July 2019
Photo: Climatalk .in/Flickr

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has, for the first time in five years, been allocated less budget that the previous year’s actual expenditure.

In the proposed Budget 2019-20, MGNREGS was allocated Rs 60,000 crore, the same as it was in the interim budget. In the Union Budget 2018-19, the flagship programme of the Union government got Rs 61,084 crore (revised estimate).

The budgetary allocation for MGNREGS has increased to Rs 61,084 crore in 2018-19 from Rs 34,000 crore in 2014-15. Except for 2014-15, in all years since then, actual expenditure has been more than the approved budgetary allocation.

However, according to the non-profit Centre for Budget and Governance accountability, “The allocations have actually declined when adjusted for inflation.”

Given the drought-like conditions in close to 40 per cent of India’s districts this year and deficit monsoon (until now), allocation to MGNREGS was expected to be higher. 

The government has to allocate more funds if the Budget provisions are not adequate to meet demand for jobs since this is a demand-driven and legislated programme. It generated 267.96 crore person days during 2018-19.

The overall allocation for the Ministry of Rural Development has increased by Rs 5,200 crore than last year. The total allocation for this financial year, which is proposed to be Rs. 1, 17,647 crore, is the same as proposed in the interim budget. In the 2018-19 Budget, it was Rs 1,12,404 crore.

Though the allocation for the ministry has been increasing over the years, its share in the total Budget has decreased to 4.4 per cent in 2019-20 from 4.7 per cent in 2018-19.

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