Agartala: The Left Front government in Tripura on Wednesday expressed its discontent over slashing of funds under the MGNREGA rural employment scheme and urged the central government to restore the funding.
"The previous UPA government, during the last financial year, had allocated Rs.943.66 crore to implement the MGNREGA, but the present NDA government told us that it would give Rs.662 crore in the scheme for the current fiscal (2014-15)," Tripura Rural Development and Forest Minister Naresh Jamatia told reporters Wednesday.
He said that the union rural development ministry has informed the rural development department about the reduction of funding under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), a flagship programme launched by the earlier United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
The minister said: "The central government was supposed to give around Rs.1,407 crore this fiscal to Tripura to implement the MGNREGA, but in a recent secretarial level meeting in New Delhi, the officials of the rural development ministry told our officials that it would give only Rs.662 crore."
Jamatia, in a letter to the union rural development minister Nitin Gadkari urged against cutting the allocated funds under the scheme for interest of the unemployed rural people.
"If the allocation under the MGNREGA is reduced, automatically number of person-days (working days) per jobless rural household would be decreased," the Tripura minister told the union minister in his letter.
"For the current fiscal over Rs.513 crore person-days have been fixed. Reduction of funds under the MGNREGA would also affect the creation of rural assets and create a fuss among the job seekers," he added.
Tripura maintained its top position for the fifth consecutive year by providing 87 person-days` rural jobs per household during the 2013-14 fiscal under the MGNREGA.
"Tripura has been providing the highest average employment for the past five years under the MGNREGA," state rural development joint secretary C.K. Jamatia told reporters.
He said that Tripura provided 87 days of work per household in the 2013-14 fiscal against the national average of 45 person-days.
"Tripura has retained the top position since 2009-10. Another northeastern state, Sikkim came second with 58 person-days per household, followed by Tamil Nadu with 56 person-days," he added.
The MGNREGA mandates 100 days of employment in a financial year to at least one member of each rural household.
According to the central government performance report on the MGNREGA, of the 644 districts in India, South Tripura district topped with 97.46 person-days in the last financial year.