Poor not benefitting from rural employment scheme: BJP

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New Delhi, Apr 23 (UNI) Mr Kashiram Rana (BJP) today said the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) had failed to benefit the poor due to corruption, lack of planning and faulty implementation.

Initiating the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Demands for Grants for the Rural Development Ministry for 2008-09, Mr Rana said in several states, including Haryana, funds meant for the scheme were being diverted for other purposes.

Under the NREG Act, the scheme was to ensure employment for 100 days a year to the rural masses, but the average number of days had fallen from 43 days in 2006-07 to 38 days in 2007-08.

To deal with this problem, the scheme should be enlarged to provide work for 200 days a year, he said.

A huge allocation of Rs 42,400 crore had been made in the Budget 2008-09 for the Rural Development Ministry, including Rs 16,000 crore for the NREGS, but the poor would not be benifitted in the absence of proper utilisation of the funds for the provision of drinking water and other basic amenities in rural areas, he said.

Further, the poor people were being exploited under the NREGS as they were being paid only after a week of work instead of on a daily basis, he said.

Instead of the Panchayats being entrusted with everything -- work, monitoring and auditing -- social auditing should be given to a neutral entity, Mr Rana suggested.

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