Big jump in MNREGS allocation, marginal hike for other welfare plans | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Big jump in MNREGS allocation, marginal hike for other welfare plans

Feb 01, 2024 06:01 PM IST

₹86000 crore has been allocated for the make-work MNREGS programme for 2023-24, up 43% from budget estimates of ₹60000 (2023-24)

The allocations for six “core of core schemes” were on Thursday raised to 1.12 lakh crore for 2024-25 from revised estimates (2023-24) of 1.08 lakh crore, an increase of 3%. When compared with the budget estimates (2023-24) of 86144 crore, the outlay for the next fiscal year for these programmes marks a 30% jump.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds up a folder as she leaves her office to present the interim budget. (REUTERS)
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds up a folder as she leaves her office to present the interim budget. (REUTERS)

These schemes include the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), National Social Assistance Progamme, Umbrella Programme for Development of Minorities, Umbrella Programme for Development of Other Vulnerable Groups, Umbrella Programme for Development of Scheduled Tribes, Umbrella Scheme for Development of Schedule Castes. The umbrella programmes usually cover multiple schemes in a sector.

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In her sixth straight budget, Sitharaman allocated 86000 crore for the make-work MNREGS programme for 2023-24, up 43% from budget estimates of 60000 (2023-24). The revised estimates for this scheme for 2023-24 are the same as the outlay for the next fiscal year.

Centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) are implemented by states but are largely funded by the Union government with a defined share of state governments. For all other CSS designated as “core”, including key welfare schemes such as integrated health and nutrition programmes, the interim budget has, in all, allocated 3.8 lakh crore for 2024-25. This allocation, according to revised estimates of 2023-24, stood at 3.3 lakh crore, while the budget estimates were pegged at 3.8 lakh crore.

The allocation for the country’s main programmes to tackle malnutrition, the women and child development ministry’s Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0, has been increased by 3% ( 21,200 crore). These programmes are aimed at tackling poor health in children, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women.

Indicating that these schemes would be consolidated, Sitharaman said: “Various schemes for maternal and childcare will be brought under one comprehensive programme for synergy in implementation.”

The budget estimate for the scheme in FY24 stood at 20554 crore, which is 1.4% higher than the revised estimate allocation of 20263 crore.

Sitharaman said the up gradation of anganwadi centres under Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 will be expedited for improved nutrition delivery, early childhood care, and development.

According to the National Family Health Survey-5 for 2019-21, the latest available data, health and nutrition outcomes of children below five years showed an improvement since the previous survey in 2015-16.

The prevalence of stunting declined from 38.4% to 35.5%, while that of wasting had gone down to 19.3% from 21%. The same survey put the percentage of underweight children at 32.1%, down from 35.8% earlier. Nearly 80% of the women and child development ministry’s allocation goes into the scheme.

The government’s flagship drinking water programme, Jal Jeevan Mission, has been allocated 70162 crore, a marginal increase from the revised as well as budgeted estimates of 70000 for the ongoing financial year.

The Jal Jeevan Mission is likely to cross a key milestone this month by connecting nearly three-fourths of all rural households, an official said. Over 141.5 million rural households, or 73.48% of the total, have been given a functional tap-water connection, according to official data from the programme’s dashboard.

A baseline survey showed that less than 17% or 32.3 million households had a connection in 2019 when the mission was launched. The scheme launched in August 2019 aims to connect each of India’s 192.6 million rural households with tap-water connections by 2024-end. Under the mission, a family is provided 55 litres of clean water daily per person.

Nearly 600 million people in 12 major river basins of the country face “high to extreme” water stress, according to a 2018 report by the state-run think-tank, Niti Aayog. Getting to a water source is a long haul in rural India.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

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