18 States yet to receive ₹4,700 crore in MGNREGS wages from Union government

The Centre, as on December 14 owes ₹4,700 crore of wages to 18 States and ₹5,450 crore worth material costs to 19 States

December 27, 2022 09:15 pm | Updated December 28, 2022 09:29 am IST - NEW DELHI

Villagers work at site under MNREGA scheme. Photo used for representation purpose only.

Villagers work at site under MNREGA scheme. Photo used for representation purpose only. | Photo Credit: PTI


It has been a year since funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) were withheld for West Bengal, owing to the alleged widespread violations by the State government in the implementation of the scheme. The latest figures however, show that the Centre’s dues to many other States are also significantly high, with just three months to go for the financial year to end. The Centre, as on December 14 owes ₹4,700 crore of wages to 18 states and ₹5,450 crore worth material costs to 19 States.

Out of the ₹4,700 crore worth wages , ₹2,748 crore liability is only for West Bengal. Even if the sum is set aside, nearly ₹2,000 crore of wages, as on December 14 has not been paid to 17 States. The list includes Nagaland with just 4.32 lakh job cards, the wage due of the Centre is ₹192 crore. The notified wage for Nagaland is ₹216 per day , which means, for nearly 8 lakh days of work no wages have been paid in the State.

There are other States with similarly high dues— for example, Uttar Pradesh has a due of ₹284 crore, Bihar ₹287 crore, Jharkhand ₹263 crore and Tamil Nadu ₹173 crore. The MNREG Act clearly states that the funds have to be paid within 15 days.

It is not just the wages, the Centre, as on December 14, owes ₹5,450 crore to 19 States for material costs. Out of these dues more than half is owed to West Bengal which has not been paid ₹2,685 crore for the financial year 2021-22 and 2022-23. The Centre owes nearly ₹700 crore dues to Andhra Pradesh. The Centre owes ₹341 crore to Karnataka and nearly ₹300 crore to Madhya Pradesh. This material cost also includes wages of the mates/supervisors who are the frontline monitors of the scheme. The delay in material costs, also has a domino impact on the MNREGA work, since a delay in the payment breaks the supply chain. Because of the prolonged delays in payments the vendors are reluctant to supply material for any new work.

The Ministry of Rural Development has asked for additional funds from the Finance Ministry to meet the shortfall.

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