New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS): The government has slashed the budgetary allocation for rural job guarantee scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) by 30 per cent to Rs 61,032.65 crore for 2023-24 in the Union Budget, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday.
This is 30 per cent less than the revised estimate of Rs 89,154.65 crore for 2022-23.
It is the second straight cut in the scheme's budgetary allocation, as in the 2022-23 budget also, the MGNREGA's budgetary allocation had been cut by 25 per cent to Rs 73,000 crore from the revised estimate of Rs 98,000 crore.
The job guarantee scheme offers 100 days of wage-based employment every fiscal to each rural household across the country.
The MGNREGA was introduced in 2005 through a Parliamentary Act, and earmarks one-third of rural jobs for women.
Over the years, the scheme has come across as a gamechanger, as lakhs of rural households have gained employment through it.
During the Coronavirus-induced lockdown, lakhs of migrant workers had found work under it when they were forced to return to their native places.