Guaranteed rural employment scheme to be enlarged: President

June 4th, 2009 - 1:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) The new government will strengthen the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) by enlarging the scope of works permitted under it, President Pratibha Patil announced Thursday. The current scheme is only for unskilled manual work.
Addressing both houses of parliament, Patil said: “The NREGA has proved to be what it promised - an effective social protection measure and the largest programme in the world for rural reconstruction.

“Its transformational potential is unfolding before our eyes. My government would enlarge the scope of works permitted under the NREGA presently limited to unskilled manual work.”

Indicating that the government would attempt to use the job scheme to power agricultural growth, Patil said: “The opportunity for improving land productivity through NREGA will be maximised through convergence of NREGA with other programmes.”

She said the government would set up “independent monitoring and grievance redressal mechanisms” at the district level to ensure “transparency and public accountability” of the rural job scheme.

The president said the National Rural Health Mission would be consolidated to make “perceptible reduction in infant mortality and maternal mortality in the next five years”.

The government will revive vaccine producing institutes in the public sector to support immunisation programmes.

The president said malnutrition had emerged as a major health challenge needing urgent response and added that “nutritional delivery programme will be comprehensively revamped to bring it under the watch of panchayat institutions”.

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