PM concerned over delayed NREGA wages, Sonia suggests reforms (second lead)February 2nd, 2012 - 9:03 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) Delayed payments of wages under the rural job scheme are a cause of concern, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Thursday as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi stressed that complaints of corruption about the UPA government’s flagship scheme cannot be ignored.
Addressing an event to mark six years of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the prime minister said the potential of the scheme that guarantees a member of a rural household 100 days of employment in a year has not been fully realised.
“There are many challenges in implementation of MGNREGS. The biggest worry is delayed wage payment to workers,” the prime minister said.
“They should get it within 15 days. We need to expand the reach of banks and post offices to do it,” the prime minister said.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, in his address, responded to the concerns raised by the prime minister and the United Progressive Alliance chairperson and said that measures to improve the MGNREGS will be announced by next month.
The prime minister, who inaugurated the conference, expressed confidence that the issues in implementation of the scheme will be sorted out.
“We feel what was the basic purpose of MGNREGA and its potential has not been reaped fully,” he said.
He said the poor come under debt due to delayed wage payments in the rural job scheme, and urged the state governments to address the issue of shortage of manpower in verifying the muster rolls and works done under the scheme.
The prime minister congratulated Ramesh for implementing the job scheme in Maoist areas and said playgrounds for children can be built under the scheme in these districts.
He said the government was allocating around Rs.40,000 crore annually for the scheme despite financial difficulties.
In her address, Gandhi said the talk about improving the MGNREGS was taking place for quite a long time and time has now come to implement the suggestions.
“We cannot ignore the complaints that are coming regarding the irregularities and corruption in the scheme,” she said.
Gandhi said she was happy that the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) will look into the expenditure under the scheme.
“Corruption in MGNREGA is great injustice to the country and a crime,” she said, adding, “there is unfortunately an apathy towards it (the scheme) in some states, especially those which are considered poor.”
She said panchayats had a role in implementing the scheme and the grass roots organisation should be empowered.
Gandhi said the scheme has helped arrest migration from the affected parts of the country as people were getting jobs closer to their homes.
Officials said the ministry has been working on the suggestions to expand the job scheme to cover irrigation and its convergence with total sanitation campaign.
- Delayed wages, corruption in MNREGA worry PM, Sonia (Lead) - Feb 02, 2012
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- Jharkhand spent only 38 percent of job scheme funds - Dec 14, 2011
- Policies should be flexible, says PM - Jul 14, 2012
- UID used to make rural employment payments in Jharkand - Feb 22, 2012
- Ramesh rejects Pawar's suggestion on rural jobs - Feb 22, 2012
- Ramesh, Mayawati in duel over corruption - Oct 28, 2011
- 'Rural jobs scheme should have off period during agriculture season' - Mar 20, 2012
- Tripura provides most jobs under NREGA - Dec 10, 2011
- Rural job workers to get cash in Maoist-hit areas: Ramesh - Dec 03, 2011
- Bengal unhappy with inadequate MGNREGA wage hike - Mar 29, 2012
- 'Extend rural job scheme to urban areas' - Mar 15, 2012
- Delayed wage payments hit rural job scheme: minister - Nov 15, 2011
- 'MGNREGA 2.0' with 30 new works launched - May 08, 2012
- Ensure minimum wages under job scheme, Aruna Roy urges PM - Jan 22, 2012
Tags: congress chief, development minister, financial difficulties, guarantee scheme, mahatma gandhi, manmohan, manmohan singh, maoist, mark six, muster rolls, playgrounds, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, progressive alliance, ramesh, rs 40, shortage of manpower, sonia gandhi, state governments, wage payments