More reports on: Economy - general
Funds for social schemes seem to be vanishing news
01 March 2011

In his general budget for 2011-12, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has announced an increase in allocation for the Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) of Rs10,000 crore to Rs58,000 crore.

The finance minister has proposed an identical hike for the Bharat Nirman scheme, and also proposed to give Rs3000 core to the national agricultural development board, NABARD.

Mukherjee also said the government has decided to index the wage rates notified under the NREGA for agricultural labour to the consumer price index. He said that this comes in pursuance of earlier budget announcement to provide a real wage of Rs100 per day.

The enhanced wage rates have been notified by the ministry of rural development in January this year. The finance minister claims that this step has resulted in significant enhancement of wages for the beneficiaries across the country.

While the finance minister has tried to put a positive spin on these allocations and enhanced delivery schemes, they are sure to disappoint watchers of the social sector.

In his last budget for 2010-11, Mukherjee had announced a Rs1,000 crore increase in the allocation for the NREGA, at Rs40,100 crore against Rs39,100 crore allocated in the previous budget, Even then, he had said that as rural infrastructure development is a top priority for the government, as it banks on the perceived success of the NREGA.

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Funds for social schemes seem to be vanishing