Rs.160 bn for rural jobs, Rs.68.66 bn for urban infrastructure

February 29th, 2008 - 6:44 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) The government will provide Rs.160 billion for rolling out its flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in all 596 rural districts and Rs.68.66 billion for improving urban infrastructure, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said Friday. Unveiling the national budget in the Lok Sabha Friday amid disruption from opposition members, Chidambaram said more funds would be made available to the NREGS if needed.

“Let there be no apprehension in anyone’s mind. As demand rises, more money will be provided to meet the legal guarantee of employment.”

For the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Chidambaram proposed that allocation would increase from Rs.54.82 billion in 2007-08 to Rs.68.66 billion in the next fiscal to upgrade urban infrastructure.

NREGS was launched in February 2006 in 200 districts and later extended to another 130 districts to provide employment to the poor. Till December 2007, a total of 25.7 million households had benefited by the scheme.

The share of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the scheme was pegged at 61.79 percent in 2006-07 and 58.29 percent in 2007-08. The participation of women in the scheme was estimated to be 44 percent till December 2007.

From April 2008, the scheme will be implemented in the remaining rural districts of the country.

The ministry of rural development, the nodal agency for implementing the scheme, has targeted 100 percent online data management in 200 first-phase districts by March to maintain transparency and accountability.

Launched in 2005-06, JNNURM will be implemented in seven years. The mission aims at addressing infrastructure issues like drinking water, sanitation, sewerage, solid waste management, and transportation in 5,161 cities, including 63 larger cities.

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