Wage budget on the wane

MGNREGA losing sheen?

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Oct 23: The Mahatma Gandhi tiol Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, the world's largest anti-poverty scheme, seems to be losing its sheen.

The labour component (wage budget) of the scheme in Assam has been decreasing since 2010-11.

The MGNREGA funds comprise of two components - labour and material. The wage and material component ratio has to be maintained at 60:40. The labour component is entirely funded by the Central government unlike the material component which is shared.

Declining wage component means declining employment.

The Central government had sanctioned Rs 1,74,818.50 lakh under the labour component of the scheme for the State in the year 2010-11. The sanctioned amount in the year 2014-15 was Rs 95,445.11 lakh. It, however, increased margilly to Rs 1,36,845.80 lakh this fincial year.

On the other hand, the Central government also failed to release the entire sanctioned amounts. Of the total Rs 1,74,818.50 lakh sanctioned in 2010-11, the Central government released only Rs 61,083.40 lakh. Every year since 2010-11, the Central government held back more than 40 per cent of the sanctioned amounts. The non-released amounts went on piling up and it now stands at Rs 320,285.19 lakh.

The Centre blames the State government for failed to submit the proper audit report in time for release of funds.

The MGNREGA was initiated with the objective of enhancing livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a fincial year, to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. Despite partial success, the scheme has received massive criticism due to the corruption in its implementation and operation.

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