The government has allocated Rs 2,000 crore to the rural development ministry apart from the budget allocation of Rs 38,500 crore for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).
The money will be used to clear some of the pending payments to the states for taking up NREGS work. The ministry has about Rs 6,500 crore of payments to the state pending at the moment.
"Every year we carry forward some amount under the pending payments to be made to the states...we had assured some of the state governments shortly after the budget including Andhra Pradesh that payments will be made to them," Rural Development Minister Birender Singh said on Tuesday.
The scheme has been criticised for the delay in payments, with over 54% of wage payments having exceeded the 15-day time limit. The government wants to bring down the pendency level to 25% by the end of June.
"NREGS alone cannot cure the problem of unemployment. This is why we have decided to impart training to people who have completed 100 days of work under this scheme to enable them to achieve sustainable livelihood," Singh said.
The rural development ministry has also sought finance ministry's permission to determine the NREGS wages as per the Consumer Price Index for rural instead of agriculture labour as per the Mahendra Dev Committee recommendations. This will require a further fund requirement of Rs 2,000 crore, the ministry has estimated.
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