Modi to tweak UPA's rural job scheme, seeks suggestion from states

Modi to tweak UPA's rural job scheme, seeks suggestion from states

The BJP-led government is set to bring about a crucial change in the erstwhile UPA regime’s flagship job scheme for villagers.

It will utilise the programme, implemented at the district level, to build rural infrastructural assets of greater quality, durability and use.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek to amend Para 20 of Schedule I of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNERGA) to ensure that a wider variety of works can be taken up under the scheme at the district level and greater technical input can enhance the quality and use of the assets created.

The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) stated that the changes would allow allotment of an approximate Rs 8,000 crore for creating crucial infrastructure like minor irrigation facilities, and help focus on convergence with other departments — resulting in greater technical guidance, more professionalism and higher resource availability for works.

The ministry has sent out a note to all state governments to send in their suggestions on the proposed amendments and changes in the way the programme is implemented.

The MGNREGS provided employment to over 34.50 crore households ever since its inception in the financial year of 2006-07.

But the programme was criticised for not creating durable assets and useful, quality infrastructure in villages, although the Union government spent over Rs 2,06,291 crore against budgetary allocations of Rs 2,38,500 crore from 2006-07 to 2013-14.

A recent review by the MoRD found that excessive focus on non-permanent earth works, absence of adequate technical staff for planning and supervision and lack of an outcome orientation were responsible for poor quality of assets.

The Centre is contemplating on a special provision for spending three per cent of the value of works done only for technical supervision. The MoRD proposed the amount would be used to “deploy required technical manpower to guide in the planning and execution”.

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