Monday, 30th October 2017

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Distress sign in job spend

The Centre has decided to pump an additional Rs 7,000 crore into the rural job scheme, which is being read by critics as an undeclared sign that economic distress is forcing more people to fall back on unskilled jobs in villages.

By Basant Kumar Mohanty
  • Published 5.01.18
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New Delhi: The Centre has decided to pump an additional Rs 7,000 crore into the rural job scheme, which is being read by critics as an undeclared sign that economic distress is forcing more people to fall back on unskilled jobs in villages.

The Union finance ministry has granted Rs 3,500 crore from the Consolidated Fund of India and asked the rural development ministry to divert another Rs 3,500 crore from other schemes to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act programme.

The additional funds take the annual allocation to Rs 55,000 crore, up from Rs 47,000 crore a year ago. Of the Rs 48,000 crore allocated for the scheme in this year's budget, the rural development ministry had released Rs 47,148.39 crore by January 1 to the states and Union territories.

Participation in the scheme, which seeks to provide up to 100 days of unskilled work to every rural household a year, has been rising consistently since 2014-15, when the Narendra Modi government came to power. The number of mandays too has been increasing.

Congress MP Anand Sharma attributed the spurt in demand for the rural scheme jobs to the state of the economy. "Contrary to the claims by the Prime Minister and finance minister, the Indian economy is a gasping economy," he told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Sharma said medium and small-scale industries had witnessed a 33 per cent reduction in jobs in one year because of demonetisation and the "faulty" implementation of GST, raising the demand for the rural scheme. (See Business)