SC Raps Govt For Not Disbursing MGNREGA Funds to Drought-Hit Areas

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand said that Centre will release Rs 7983 crore in a couple of days.

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Supreme Court asked the Centre that relief for MGNREGA workers must be released now. (Photo: PTI)

Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the Centre for not releasing adequate funds to states for MGNREGA and asked it to give details of expenditure on the scheme in drought-hit states, saying relief has to be provided now and not after one year.

If you are not releasing the funds, then no one will like to work. States will say they have no funds, so they can’t pay anyone for MGNREGA work. No state will make any commitment to the people. Relief has to be given immediately and not after one year. Temperature is soaring at 45-degree celsius, there is no drinking water, nothing is there. You have to do something and provide relief on time.
Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice MB Lokur

It said, as per government’s own figures, the average number of workdays is 48 while the statute says it should be 100 days.

There is no drought yet in Bundelkhand, but the situation is alarming. (Photo: iStockphoto, altered by <b>The Quint</b>)
There is no drought yet in Bundelkhand, but the situation is alarming. (Photo: iStockphoto, altered by The Quint)
We should realise that there is a problem. Nine states and now Rajasthan have declared a drought. It is difficult to believe that there is no drought in Bundelkhand and Marathwada.

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand informed the bench that Rs 7983 crore will be released by the Centre in a couple of days towards wage liability, while Rs 2400 crore material liability will be cleared in June.

She said that Rs 2723 crore was being released as wage reliability for the drought affected states. The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue tomorrow.

The year has just begun, but farmer suicides in Maharashtra are already high. Around 89 farmers ended their lives in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region, in the month of January alone.

Read The Quint’s report on how a lethal combination of drought, El Nino and weak monsoons is likely to make this year worse for farmers in India.

Also Read: Bombay HC: IPL Should Be Moved out of Maharashtra Due to Drought

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