NEW DELHI: In the 2nd week of the current Financial Year, Ministry of Rural Development has already released Rs. 23,147 crore to various States/Union Territories (UTs) under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.nnThe funds, besides clearing all wage and payment liabilities of previous year, will also ensure smooth implementation of the scheme in the coming months of FY 2018-19.nnIn line with the commitment of Government of India towards release of funds by 10th April, 2018, the Ministry has released Rs. 14,995 crore for wages and Rs. 8,152 crore for material expenditure under MGNREGS. This release includes the amount pending as liability for the work done in the last weeks of FY 2017-18.nnThe States/UTs have been advised to ensure that all the pending liabilities are duly cleared. The Ministry is closely monitoring the compliance. It is important to mention here that the Central Government has an initial budget provision of Rs. 55,000crore in FY 2018-19 which is the highest since inception of the programme. Last year the initial budget provision was Rs. 48,000crore which was revised upwards during the later stages.nnThe Central Government pays for 100% of the wage expenditure and 75% of the material expenditure under the scheme. The total expenditure in FY 2017-18 under the scheme was Rs. 64,189 crore. In FY 2017-18, Six States (Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya) who are on the National Electronic Fund Management System (NeFMS) released a cumulative of Rs. 1,570 crore over and above their matching state share. NeFMS has been a great enabler in transferring MGNREGA wages directly to beneficiaries? bank/post office accounts and there is no hassle if States want to contribute their share or more.nnLabour Budget for FY 2018-19 has been finalized through a participatory process with the States/UTs. In FY 2017-18, a total of 233 crore persondays were generated which is 101% of the approved labour budget of 231 crore. The programme?s increased outreach is reflected in the lowest number of Gram Panchayats with nil expenditure (11512) in FY 2017-18 since inception. Also, about 86% of the total payments in FY 2017-18 were generated within 15 days of closure of Muster Rolls.nnThere has been a continued emphasis on creation of durable and productive assets and on completion of ongoing works.