In a bid to provide employment opportunities to the rural population and improve the infrastructure of villages, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has made an urgent appeal to the Centre to release the funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
With a high demand for the scheme’s works due to unpredictable monsoons and the lean agricultural season, it is crucial that the funds are released promptly.
Tamil Nadu has always been a top-performing state when it comes to implementing the Mahatma Gandhi NREGS.
With a total of 92.86 lakh households issued with Job Cards, the state has seen active participation from nearly 91.52 lakh workers belonging to 76.15 lakh households.
Importance of MGNREGS in Rural Livelihoods
According to Chief Minister MK Stalin, the MGNREGS is not only an important scheme for providing employment opportunities but also a means to create durable and sustainable rural assets.
It serves as a lifeline for various sections of the rural population, including elderly people, destitute women, women-headed households, and differently-abled workers.
Moreover, it provides additional livelihood opportunities during the lean agricultural season.
One of the significant achievements of the MGNREGS is women empowerment.
The majority of the workforce participating in the scheme is women, and the timely credit of wages to their bank accounts has greatly improved their financial situation.
Unrealized Demand and Wage Liabilities
For the year 2023-2024, Tamil Nadu made an original demand of 40 crore person-days under the MGNREGS.
However, the Government of India has approved only 28 crore person-days so far. As of October 23, Tamil Nadu has managed to achieve 31.15 crore person-days and provide employment to 76.06 lakh workers from 66.26 lakh households.
Despite the release of funds by the Government of India, there has been a significant delay in wage payments. Out of the sanctioned amount of ₹1,755.43 crore for the payment of unskilled wages, only ₹418.233 crore has been released partially.
This leaves a balance of ₹1,337.20 crore yet to be credited into the workers’ accounts. Furthermore, an additional wage liability of ₹1,359.57 crore for subsequent weeks remains unpaid.
As of October 20, the wage liability for Tamil Nadu workers has accumulated to a staggering ₹2,696.77 crore.
Urgent Appeal for Release of Funds
During his visit to Kattankulathur Panchayat Union in Chengalpattu District, Chief Minister MK Stalin witnessed the plea from both the public and public representatives for the immediate release of unpaid wages under MGNREGS.
A similar request was received during his visit to Tiruvannamalai District as well. In light of these requests and considering the impending festive season, Chief Minister Stalin urges the Centre to release the total wage liability amount of ₹2,696.77 crore to Tamil Nadu without delay.
He also emphasizes the need for regular release of additional funds for the benefit of unskilled workers.
The release of funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is crucial for providing livelihood opportunities to the rural population and improving the infrastructure of villages.