Oppn seeks timely release of MGNREGA funds

Oppn seeks timely release of MGNREGA funds

Oppn seeks timely release of MGNREGA funds

Opposition's demand for early release of MGNREGA funds to states and the government's response that these were being given on time led to heated exchanges between the ruling and opposition benches in Lok Sabha and a brief adjournment of its proceedings today.

Dissatisfied with Rural Development Minister Birender Singh's reply, more than 15 Opposition members, including those from Congress, RJD, SP and Left parties, trooped into the Well raising slogans seeking early release of funds.

While some members during Question Hour raised concerns about delays in release of funds by the Centre for the scheme, the Minister said money is being released on time.

Noting it was a "demand-driven" programme, Singh said in the current fiscal itself, the government has already released about Rs 12,000 crore to various states.
Singh said that payment of unemployment allowance in cases where the applicant did not get a job under the MGNREGS was the responsibility of respective state governments.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha have written to the Centre about inadequate availability of funds for the scheme. He wondered "who is telling the truth, the states or the Centre."
In response, the Minister said enough funds have been allocated for the scheme and additional money would be given.

"If you are not satisfied with the (Minister's) reply, there are other ways (to raise the matter)," Speaker Sumitra Mahajan told the agitating members.

As the Opposition members were dissatisfied with the Minister's reply and continued their protests, the proceedings were adjourned for ten minutes.

Soon after the House re-assembled, the pandemonium continued with the Opposition demanding release of central funds for the "farmers and the poor" on time.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said MGNREGA funds should be linked to the MPLAD scheme with stringent conditions as it would ensure timely release of money to the states.

Though the House took up a question on renewable energy, not much could be heard as the opposition din continued. Power Minister Piyush Goyal retorted that since their leader (Rahul Gandhi) has left the House, they should end the sloganeering.

After the end of the Question Hour, Speaker requested the agitating members to return to their seats.

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