The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the biggest employment generating programme, has received a serious setback in the State due to slow release of funds by the Union Government.
The State is to get more than Rs 1,213 crore of Central Share under the MGNREGA programme. Release of funds remains erratic despite repeated requests sent to the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), said officials.
In 2017-18, the MoRD approved Rs 2,798.37 crore for Odisha out of which Central share was Rs 2,534.38 and by March 31, 2018, the Centre released Rs 2,198.49 crore. Till date, Rs 335.89 crore Central share of the last fiscal is yet to be received by the State.
In 2018-19, the MoRD approved Rs 3,054.53 crore and out of which Central Share is Rs 2,766.38 crore and till date State has received Rs1888.58 crore only. The Centre released 86 per cent of its share in 2017-18 and 68 per cent in 2018-19 and, thus, implementation of MGNREGA has been impacted.
Recently, the State Government has once again approached MoRD to release the balance 1213.69 crore.
While wage seekers are facing tough time, the State Government is utilising its own Revolving Fund of Rs 300 crore to weed out the problem.
Notably, the prime objective of MGNREGA is to ensure livelihood security to the households in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year.
While the Union Government releases 100 per cent towards unskilled wage expenditure; material spending is borne by both Centre and State on 75:25 basis.