Funds for rural employment programme misused: Sonia Gandhi

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New Delhi, Feb 2 (ANI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said funds meant for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) are being misused.

Speaking on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of MNREGA here, Gandhi said loopholes in the government programme should be resolved with the help of Central and State Governments.

"There are reports that the funds for the scheme (programme) are being misused for other purposes. Fake job cards, muster rolls, identity of the labourers, such reports have reached us. Such work that can only be done on paper or very limited work, such as purchase of products and delay in compensation of labourers, such complaints have also been received," she said.

Gandhi also opined that even though there are administration officials for each area, a number of complaints have not been addressed.

"All these are loopholes the state governments should fill by watching them closely and should investigate them immediately. It is evident that the central government should also help the state governments in meeting the necessities of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act," she said.

She further said facilities are often not up to the mark, due to which many women do not come for work, reducing the programme's efficiency.

Gandhi said the MNREGA's budget of 400 billion rupees should be used to make agriculture lands more fertile and provide farmers with extra water.

Hailing MNREGA as a scheme which has given a new direction to empowering the rural poor, Gandhi said, "For the unemployed and semi-employed households- especially of the dalits and tribals communities- this is the lifeline and is being considered a basis of social security."

"MNREGA has helped in preventing migration to cities. The rural post offices and banks have not a new encouragement by keeping accounts of this scheme. Labourers working in fields are getting more wages now," she said. (ANI)

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