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MGNREGA fund for the year already exhausted. How will the Government Provide job to rural poor- Bhushan

December 6, 2017


Advocate Prashant Bhushan assisted by Rohit Kumar Singh has appeared for Swaraj Abhiyan before the Bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice N. V. Ramana in the hearing of PIL Petition filed by the organisation seeking direction for the effective implementation of MGNREGA scheme and to provide help to drought affected people.


Attorney General started his argument by reading and explaining an affidavit filed by the Government. He informed the court that there is improvement in implementation of the scheme and delay in releasing the payment is reduced. He said that 95.4 Million bank accounts are being managed by public financial management system and 10 lakh transactions are being executed every day.


During his arguments, AG passed some negative comments against PIL petitioners. In response to that the bench said, this PIL is very beneficial, this is not a useless PIL. This case started with clearing delay in payment. This is not an adversarial litigation.


Comment of the Attorney General clearly indicated the negative approach of the Government against those approaching courts against the in efficient workings of the government in many areas, failure in implementing policies and their intolerant attitude towards critics. Only few PIL petitioners have the courage to reveal the inefficiency of the Government before public. The Government want to control them also, so that they can enjoy the image being created through advertisements by spending public money.


In fact while attending the hearing of PIL petitions for providing shelter to homeless, utilisation of fund collected for construction employees etc, I wondered, weather a government is working in India. Many times the government counsels are not able to give any satisfactory answer to the continuous delay in implementing projects and careless attitude of the Governments.  


During the hearing, the court was informed that there are 155 types of work being done through MGNREGA, for which list was submitted through an affidavit on 22.3.2017. As per the affidavit submitted by the government, information related to MGNREGA budget is as under:


- Budget for Financial Year 2017-18 Rs. 48,000 Crore.

- Likely Revised Estimate Rs. 54,000/- Crore

- Amount already Released Rs. 44,977 Crore


Mr. Prashant Bhushan informed the Court that the man days has been reduced from 315 Crore days to 220 crore days, which is a huge reduction, which will result in not getting employment to large number of people.


The Bench asked about delay in releasing payment of wages and reminded the Attorney about the order passed on 9.8.2017. AG informed the court that there is 14.82% delay in releasing payments. The Bench said, the consequences of delay are:


1. Labours are not getting payments

2. Government is liable to pay interest on delayed payments


The Attorney said that there is constraints of man power, technology, software etc. Give us more time for improvement. The bench said, Indians are heading many of the top companies in the world. There is not such constraints. You are continuously writing letters to states. Letter writing dos not have much value. call the meeting of principal secretaries.


The Government reprehensive informed to the court that there is a meeting in every 3 months. 30402 social audits have been conducted. 4217 persons are facing legal action against misappropriation of fund.


The Attorney General complained to the court that said that after every hearing public statements are being given by the petitioners. This is a matter of sub judice. He submitted copies of some documents also before the court. He requested the court to pass necessary orders to constrain the PIL petitioners from publishing such statements.


Advocate Prashant Bhushan, in response to the allegations of AG, said that it is a matter of public importance. The government is giving different kinds of public statements every day. He also submitted the copies of Press note published by Swaraj Abhiyan. In his argument he, he invited the attention of the court to the fact that the scheme was introduced to release rural distress. One person from every family should be given 100 days job. Because of this petition and order passed by this court, there is some improvement. Otherwise the situation would have been worse. Fewer people getting work than entitled. Section 14(6) has provision on steps to be followed and how to prepare budget for the scheme.

He said that 315 crore man days for the year 2016-17 is now reduced 220. Approximately Rs. 50,000/- crores has already been spend. That means in the remaining months people will not get work as the budget of the Government is already exhausted. He requested the court to pass order in taking into consideration the submission of Government representative that more than Rs. 16,000/- crore will be introduced to the scheme in this year. He also said that the definition of timely payment should be according to law. The court refused to pass any order regarding introduction of more funds.



Mr. Bhushan informed the court that said that the petitioners have filed a detailed affidavit on 1.12.2017 with detailed chart showing delay in payments, reduction in man days etc.


The Attorney sought some time to respond to the affidavit filed by the petitioners. The court allowed 4 weeks time to the respondent to respond against only two annexures in the affidavit.


The Attorney again requested the court to pass order to restrain the petitioners from issuing public statements. The court refused it and said that, we can only say to use discretion.


The matter adjourned for 18th January 2018 for further hearing.




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