The government on Sunday allocated an additional amount of Rs 40,000 crore under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), over and above the budgetary allocation of Rs 61,000 crore for the current financial year. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made the announcement while detailing upon the fifth and final tranche of measures under the "Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan" package.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the additional funds will “generate nearly 300 crore person days” during the current financial year. Person days means the number of people working per day multiplied by the number of days worked. The hike in allocation is expected to benefit migrant workers returning home from the cities, in wake of the ongoing lockdown and resultant loss in employment opportunities.
MNREGA is an employment scheme aimed at providing social security by guaranteeing a minimum of 100 days paid work per year in rural India. It is mainly implemented by gram panchayats and does not involve any contractors.
The measures are part of a Rs 20 lakh crore fiscal and monetary package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last Tuesday to support the economy, which has been hit by the lockdown that was announced to curb the spread of Covid-19.