Modi govt claims credit for transforming rural job scheme

Modi govt claims credit for transforming rural job scheme
The BJP-led government on Tuesday moved to own up the Congress-led UPA’s flagship rural job scheme, criticising the erstwhile regime for failing to implement it adequately and claimed credit for transforming and reviving it.

On the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that while lack of interest (of the erstwhile Congress-led UPA regime) had slowed down implementation of the programme in 2013-14, the new government, after taking over in May 2014, had infused new life into it.

“After the change of government in 2014, I heard rumours both inside and outside Parliament that either the allocations for the MGNREGS would be lessened, or the scheme would be suspended and a new programme would be launched,” said Jaitley, adding, “But the new government not only continued the scheme, but also raised allocations for it.”

The finance minister was speaking at an event, which the Ministry of Rural Development held at Vigyan Bhavan on Tuesday to celebrate “transformation” of MGNREGS – a scheme, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had once referred to as “a living reminder” of the mistakes of the erstwhile governments led by the Congress. 

“Unlike the previous regime, the new government did not adopt the policy of making allocations for development schemes in the budget and then cutting it. This will possibly be the first year when not only the allocation made by the government for the MGNREGS would be fully utilised, but also some more resources could be given for the scheme,” said Jaitley. The government had allocated Rs 34,699 crore for the scheme in 2015-16. Rural Development Minister Birender Singh wrote to Finance Minister on December 31, pointing out that the MoRD had already released Rs 33,448 crore to the State governments for implementing the scheme. Singh requested Jaitley to release Rs 5,000 crore additional fund that he had earlier promised for the MGNREGS.
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