The Ministry of Rural Development has been allocated Rs 1,57,545 crore in the Union Budget 2023-24, which is about 13 percent less than the estimated expenditure by the ministry in the current financial year. Allocations for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MNREGA) were also cut by about one-third. It may be known that this ambitious scheme was implemented by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh government during the UPA regime.
Initially, Rs 1,35,944.29 crore was allocated to the Ministry of Rural Development for 2022-23, according to the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday. However, as per the Revised Estimates, which is a mid-year review of likely expenditure, it has increased to Rs 1,81,121 crore. The actual expenditure of the Ministry of Rural Development in the year 2021-22 was Rs 1,60,433.4 crore.
‘Rs 60,000 crore allocated for MNREGA’
MGNREGA has been allocated Rs 60,000 crore for 2023-24, which is about 32 per cent lower than the revised estimate for the previous fiscal. In the financial year 2022-23, the government had allocated Rs 73,000 crore for MGNREGA in the budget, while the expenditure according to the revised estimate was Rs 89,400 crore. Congress leaders have raised questions on this big cut in the MNREGA budget. Opposition leaders say that this decision is against the interests of landless farmers and poor laborers.
’30 thousand crore rupees cut in MNREGA’
Surendra Dadri, former president of Hanumangarh District Congress in Rajasthan, said that the budget of a very ambitious scheme like MNREGA has been cut by Rs 30,000 crore. This proves that the budget is against the interests of the landless farmers, poor laborers and the underprivileged. Dadri said that instead of increasing the amount of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Fund, Rs 7500 crore has been cut this year. The budget for urea, which is the most needed of the farmers, has been cut by Rs 23,000 crore this year as compared to last year. The central government has axed the interests of the farmers.
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