Though funds flow from the Centre for different development schemes has been dwindling due to COVID-19 pandemic, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Garib Rojgar Kalyan Abhiyan (GKRA) schemes appear exceptions as Centre has not curtailed funds to these employment generation programs.
According to official sources, the release of funds from Centre was normal in April and May, the curtailment begun in June which is expected to be more in coming months.
However, the Union Government has made it clear that there will be no funds constraints for MGNREGA which is a national employment generation scheme, the sources said.
Union Secretary Rural Development Nagendra Nath Sinha has made it clear to the State Government that there will be enough funds available under MGNREGA, GKRA said sources.
Notably, the Centre started curtailing 10 per cent funds from the State’s share on central taxes.
According to the sources, the cut will now happen every month resulting in less flow of central funds to the State as tax collection has nosedived due to the pandemic in the country.
However, the State Government has been allowed to spend in advance to an extant of up to Rs 500 crore in MGNREGA as inflow of migrants from the other states are on the rise.
In the meantime, Union Government has increased MGNREGA kitty to Rs.1,01,500 crore from Rs.61,500 crore announced in 2020-21 Union Budget.
With more Rs.40000 crore earmarked for the programme, Odisha is expecting Rs.2000 crore more in MGNREGS funding over the regular allocation.
Similarly, the Centre has also assured that another centrally sponsored program Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan (GKRA) will not suffer from dearth of funds.
Union Secretary Rural Development Mr.Sinha has made it clear to the State Government that there will be enough funds available under GKRA as 116 districts of six states, including Odisha where four district are included in the program, are included in the exclusive program.
The four districts included in GKRA are Ganjam, Balangir, Bhadrak and Balasore.
The District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds are made available for GKRA and there will be hardly any paucity of funds for such program, said sources.
While Mr.Sinha assured the state of funding of GKRA, he has requested the State Government to take projects on mission mode.
The Union Government has appointed Central Nodal Officer for the program, to monitor the progress of the campaign and to maintain close coordination with the State Government, is in regular touch with the State Government, said sources.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Mines has also informed the State Government to go ahead with funding from DMF towards GKRA.
Sushil Kumar, Union Secretary Mines has said that DMF Funds will be made available to the district authorities to implement GKRA for the sanctioned and new Projects under the program.
Both Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Mines are working in tandem to expedite the progress of GKRA as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is attaching importance of implementing GKRA on Mission Mode, said the sources.