Bhubaneswar: Even though the Odisha government claims that it would provide 20 crore mandays under MNREGA in view of the return of over 6 lakh migrant workers, uncertainty is looming large over the implementation in the State.

The State finance departments of letter (Letter No.15275/Dated 15th June, 2020) now comes as a road block for the implementation of the MNREGA in its full spirit at this crisis time. The finance department through this letter has stopped all expenditure related to the Central Sector Schemes (CSS) and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CPS) in the State.

“Taking into consideration the uncertainties in the flow of central assistance from Government of India in respect of Central Sector Scheme and Centrally Sponsored Schemes in the wake of the COVID-19, it is now decided that all expenditure relating to Central Sector Schemes and Centrally Sponsored Schemes is to be made only after receipt of central share during 2020-21 from Government of India. No expenditure relating to Central Sector Schemes and Centrally Sponsored Schemes can be made without receipt of central share, ” said the letter which has been addressed to the all the secretaries and heads of the departments.

Now MNREGA being a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), there is a restriction on expenditure relating to this scheme as per the finance department letter. MGNREGA scheme, which comes under core of the core group, will see the state pooling in 25 percent of funds, whereas the rest is taken care of by the Centre. Now, unless the Centre release the fund in advance, the scheme could not be implemented in the State.

Usually, the State carry out the scheme from its own fund and get it reimbursed from the Centre in doses in a fiscal. To go ahead with the practice, the finance department directives need to be amended accordingly.

The Odisha government on Tuesday had assured the migrant workers that 20 crore mandays would be generated under MNREGA scheme. The State plans to dig 1.3 lakh ponds with the MNREGA funds.