New Delhi: Accusing the BJP-led government of neglecting the MGNREGA, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday said in times of "rural distress", the one thing that staved off hunger was the employment programme and now that too was in the "doldrums".

The former finance minister claimed that the states had exhausted the money allotted for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and an amount of only Rs 331 crore was left for the remaining three months of the current fiscal.

There was no indication that the Centre would provide more money, he said.

Another worrying factor was that the MGNREGA was no longer demand driven and the work was provided on the basis of availability of funds, Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.

"With funds not available, work has completely stopped in many panchayats," he claimed.

In times of rural distress, the "neglect" of the MGNREGA by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government was unpardonable, the Congress leader asserted.

"Agricultural prices are low. Job opportunities are dismal. The one thing that staved off hunger was MGNREGA. And that programme is in the doldrums," he said.