Keeping politics aside, the NDA government Thursday allocated more funds than the previous year for the UPA regime’s pet welfare projects — rural job guarantee scheme under MGNREGA and food for all through National Food Security Act.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his first Budget speech, provided a massive hike in the food subsidy component for the implementation of the food guarantee programme, besides a marginal hike in the allocation of resources for NREGS.
The Centre earmarked Rs 34,000 crore for NREGS as against Rs 33,000 crore allocated previous fiscal. However, Jaitley stressed the emphasis will be laid on “more productive, asset creating” works under the scheme.
“The government is committed to providing wage and self-employment opportunities in rural areas. However, wage employment would be provided under MGNREGA through works that are more productive, asset creating and linked to agriculture and allied activities,” he said.
The food guarantee scheme, which is set to be rolled out across the country this fiscal, has got a massive hike in allocation. As against Rs 10,000 crore earmarked for the implementation of NFSA in last fiscal, Jaitley’s Budget allocated Rs 59,000 crore for the food guarantee programme. The total food subsidy bill earmarked this year, in fact, is pegged at Rs 1,15,000 crore as against Rs 90,000 crore last fiscal.
With BJP’s election manifesto promising to launch a new scheme for the welfare of tribals, the Centre announced a scheme for the purpose.