Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi lamented the constant cuts in budgetary allocation to MGNREGA, even though timely help was given to crores of affected poor families during pandemic under the scheme.
“MGNREGA, which was mocked by several people a few years ago, provided timely help to crores of affected poor families during COVID-19 and lockdown, and played a positive role in saving the government. Still, constant cuts are being made in the budgetary allocation for MGNREGA,” Gandhi said.
‘This is weakening the legal guarantee of timely payment and jobs.This year’s MGNREGA budget is 35 percent less than that of 2020 even when unemployment is rising continuously. Due to cuts in the budget payment of workers gets delayed, the Supreme Court has called this forced labour,” Congress chief added.
Sonia Gandhi urged the Union to allocate a proper budget for MGNREGA, pay wages to labourers withing 15 days of work and determine Annual Action Plan of states without delay.
Responding to Congress’ Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said that during the UPA government’s tenure till 2013-14, the budget of Rs 30,000 crore allocated to MGNREGA was not utlised.
Thakur’s response was met with objection from Congress MPs, who also protested in the House.