Sonia concerned over shortcoming in implementation of MNREGA

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New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) National Advisory CouncilChairperson Sonia Gandhi today expressed concern overshortcomings in implementation of MNREGA scheme but put theonus of dealing with them on the state governments.

"I want to share some of my concerns with you. There arereports that its (MNREGA) funds are being spent on otherworks. Reports of forged job cards, fake muster rolls, fakenames of labourers have come to light," she said.

"Complaints about jobs and goods which are there onlyon paper, buying of very low quality goods and late payment ofwages have also been heard," Gandhi said at a function heldhere to mark five years of Mahatma Gandhi National RuralEmployment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

"Despite appointment of district level officers, thepresent system of hearing and solving complaints of the peopleis not fully satisfactory. The basic facilities at the workplace which should be there also cannot be calledsatisfactory. Due to this as many women as should be expectedto work, do not," Gandhi said.

However, she sought to put the responsibility ofdealing with these lacunaes on the state governments.

"These are shortcomings which state governments shouldlook into and take strict and prompt action to solve them,"Gandhi said.

The UPA chairperson also emphasised on the need forfurther strengthening social audit and suggested that the helpof women Self-Help Groups and NGOs can be taken in thisregard.

Hailing MNREGA as a scheme which has given a newdirection to empowering the rural poor, Gandhi said, "For theunemployed and semi-employed households- especially of thedalits and tribals communities- this is the lifeline and isbeing considered a basis of social security."

Gandhi also expressed happiness that "half of thebeneficiaries (of MNREGA) are women".

"MNREGA has helped in preventing migration to cities.

The rural post offices and banks have not a new encouragementby keeping accounts of this scheme. Labourers working infields are getting more wages now," she said.

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