Govt releases Rs 29k cr to states to help clear dues under MGNREGA

New Delhi:  The government has released Rs 28,729 crore to the states to liquidate pending dues of both wage and material under MGNREGA as part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package upto June 2 in this financial year, said a finance ministry statement.

The government has increased the rate of payment under MGNREGS for work with effect from April 1 to largely help migrant workers who are without work due to the lockdowns and suspension of business activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

So far (upto June 2) in this financial year 48.13 crore mandays of work have been generated under MGNREGS. The government is looking at its employment guarantee scheme to help workers find temporary employment and get wages on their return home.

The government has increased MGNREGA wages by Rs 20 in this financial year that will provide additional benefit of Rs 2000 annually to a worker.

The Rs 1.7 lakh crore PMGKP package was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 26 to protect the weaker and most vulnerable sections of society from the impact of the lockdowns.

Under the package, the government announced free foodgrains and cash payment to women and poor senior citizens and farmers. It’s swift implementation is being continuously monitored by Central and State governments.

Under the PMGKP, the government has also so far provided 36.93 lakh tonne foodgrains to 73.86 crore beneficiaries for April, 32.92 lakh tonne foodgrains to 65.85 crore beneficiaries for May and 3.58 lakh tonne foodgrains to 7.16 crore beneficiaries for June.

Besides, 1.91 lakh tonne of pulses have also been provided to 17.9 crore households out of a total of 19.4 crore beneficiaries.

The plan to give advance benefit to EPFO subscribers has also be lapped up by 16.1 lakh members of EPFO taking the benefit of online withdrawal of non-refundable advance amounting to Rs 4,725 crore so far till June 2.

The government has amended EPFO regulations to include Covid-19 pandemic as the reason to allow non-refundable advance of 75 per cent of the amount or three months wages whichever is lower, from their accounts. Families of four crore workers stand to benefit from this window.