The Narendra Modi government’s third stimulus package pumped an additional Rs 10,000 crore into the special job scheme for migrant workers, an indication that a large section of daily wage workers are still dependent on the Centre’s welfare programme even though almost all sectors of the economy have reopened for business.
The Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Rozgar Yojana is in progress in 116 districts and has spent Rs 39,292 crores so far out of the initial outlay of Rs 50,000 crore.
The additional allocation of Rs 10,000 crore—a 20% increase —will be used primarily for MGNREGS-related work such as construction of rural houses or water conservation and harvesting. “Our current estimate shows that we would require funds for 320 crore persondays in MGNREGS. Since a larger number of MGNREGS works come under this special job scheme, this additional outlay is provided,” a top rural development ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
The Garib Kalyan Rozgar scheme was launched in June, front-loading 25 existing schemes to offer jobs to migrant workers who returned home during the pandemic. Most of them are from six states. This is the first additional allocation for the programme.
HT had reported on September 27 that the construction of houses in rural India has driven this effort with 3.77 lakh projects, , followed by 1.21 lakh water conservation and water harvesting works, and 92,158 projects involving the laying of fiber optic cables under Bharat Net.
The flagship rural job scheme, MGNREGA, has a record allocation of Rs 1.01 lakh crore for FY20-21. The demand for jobs under MGNREGS has slowed over the past three months but officials believe that it will rise agsin in winter months after the agricultural season is over. The government announced that Rs 73,504 crore has been released under MGNREGA and 251 crore person-days of employment have been generated.
Experts say that the additional Rs 10,000 crore will be spent on some specific schemes from the basket of 25 programmes that were front-loaded to roll out the migrant jobs scheme. “It looks like additional funds are required for these schemes and that’s the reason the government pumped in Rs 10,000 crore,” said former rural development secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra.
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