The Ministry of Rural Development on Wednesday told Parliament that pending wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, or MGNREGA, stood at Rs 4,720.22 crore, as of July 21.
The Centre owes this amount to 13 states and Union Territories.
The MGNREGA scheme ensures 100 days of guaranteed wage employment of unskilled manual work to at least one adult member of every household in rural areas.
At Rs 2,620.87 crore, the Centre owes the highest amount to West Bengal, Minister of State for Rural Development Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said. Bihar with dues of Rs 1,067.83 crore and Uttar Pradesh with Rs 447.87 crore are next on the list.
The Centre also owes MGNREGA wages to Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Ladakh, and Maharashtra. Nagaland, Odisha, Telangana and Puducherry.
Besides, Rs 2,537.32 crore is pending to 34 states and Union Territories as cost of material components used in projects developed by wage workers under the employment scheme.
The minister said that the central government was committed to making funds available to states for the implementation of the scheme.
“Fund release to the states is a continuous process,” the minister said in the reply. “The ministry releases funds periodically in two tranches with each tranche consisting of one or more instalments, keeping in view the ‘agreed to’ labour budget, demand for works, opening balance, the pace of utilization of funds, pending liabilities, overall performance and subject to submission of relevant documents by the states.”