UPA’’s NREGA priority is creation and retention of employment: MukherjeeFebruary 2nd, 2009 - 7:07 pm ICT by ANI
New Delhi, Feb.2 (ANI): While stating that the impact of the global economic meltdown is being felt by developing countries, including India, External Affairs and de-facto Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said that the UPA Governments foremost priorities are the creation and retention of employment.
Addressing participants at the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) Sammelan 2009 at the Pusa Institute here, Mukherjee said NREGA has given an opportunity to the common man to seek employment at his own will and live a life of self-respect and dignity.
The Act has given hope and unlocked the potential of the rural poor to take charge of their own future, adding that it was a matter of immense pleasure for him to be present to commemorate three years of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
He described the Act as a realization of our commitment to inclusive growth and livelihood security for the common man.
As a result of overwhelming response of the workers, over 360 crore person days of employment has been generated and over 32 lakh works have been taken up in three years. Out of these 20 lakh assets have already been created and are benefitting the rural economy, he said.
He further went on to say that out of a total budget outlay of Rs.53, 300 crore in the three years, the expenditure has been Rs.41, 756 crore of which Rs. 28,227 crores (68 percent) of this has been disbursed as wages, adding that experience has shown that it is the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable groups who seek employment under NREGA.
He also said that he was encouraged to know that the participation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was more than 55 percent and a near equal participation of the women workforce.
The scheme has provided an avenue for social security and addresses the most basic concerns related to the day to day existence, he claimed.
Praising UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi for her untiring leadership in ensuring the passage of the NREGA in Parliament, Mukherjee said that her deep commitment and empathy for the underprivileged made it possible for the UPA Government to fulfill a sacred promise to the people of India.
The Government, he said, has tried to evolve systemic solution to strengthen institutional capabilities for transparency and public accountability in the scheme.
It was for instance a matter of pride to know that more than 5.7 crore Bank/ Post Office accounts have been opened under NREGA. This, he said, is the largest number of accounts linked to a development program anywhere in the world.
Mukherjee claimed that the NREGA has aided in enhancing economic potential through supplementing income, savings and investments and financial inclusion.
Through NREGA the government has infused a new strength in institutions of grassroots democracy. Resources for intensive capacity building have been provided to Panchayati Raj functionaries to facilitate village level plan and implementation work. Social Audits have entrusted the Gram Sabha with responsibility and accountability for their own work.
He concluded by saying that the scheme has provided space to civil society organizations to become active and contributive towards fair and effective implementation of the Act. (ANI)
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