In the final tranche of the Rs 20 lakh-crore COVID-19 economic relief package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 17 announced an additional Rs 40,000 crore allocation under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). This is over and above the Rs 61,500 crore budgeted earlier in February.This would take the total allocation to the scheme up to Rs 101.5 lakh crore.In February 2006, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government notified MGNREGA for the first time on an experimental basis in about 200 districts.MGNREGA’s creation was unanimously regarded by economists and experts as a milestone in the right-based entitlement framework of India, providing for the first time, legal guarantee for wage employment.Of the 365 days in a year, the Act guaranteed a minimum 100 days of employment to every willing household, within 15 days of making such a requisition. A failure to provide employment within 15 days from the date of requisition had to be compensated through an unemployment
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