Livelihoods: The government has allocated INR 73,000 crore to the rural employment guarantee programme MGNREGA for 2021-22. This is 34 percent lower than the actual expenditure of INR 1.11 lakh crore in FY 2020-21.
Last year, the Centre had initially allocated INR 61,500 crore for the scheme with a target to generate 289 crore person days’ work. In May 2020, the Finance Minister raised the allocation by another INR 40,000 crore—as part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana—to help generate a total of 300 crore person days of work; the aim was to help mitigate the impact of the lockdown on the rural economy.
Experts said that the massive reduction in this year’s Budget allocation will severely impact employment generation. With the lockdown wiping off jobs, there has been a sharp rise in the number of people dependent on the rural employment scheme for their sustenance.