NEW DELHI: India is seeing a fall in demand for jobs under a rural employment guarantee programme, the finance minister told parliament on Wednesday. "In rural areas, the demand for MGNREGA in the recent past is coming down," said Nirmala Sitharaman, referring to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
"MGNREGA is a demand-driven programme ... (and) there is a declining trend." The government, nevertheless, this month sought an additional 164 billion rupees ($1.99 billion) for the programme above the budgeted 730 billion rupees for the current financial year that ends on March 31.
The MNREGA jobs programme, introduced more than 15 years ago, allows citizens to enrol for work such as building roads, digging wells or creating other rural infrastructure, and receive a minimum wage for at least 100 days each year.