Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday strongly pitched for utilising the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to increase agricultural production, saying the flagship scheme can play a big role to usher in second green revolution in India.
"I am of the belief that MNREGA has tremendous potential to increase agriculture production, which we have not been able to tap fully till date. There are many possibilities not only for creating community assets in villages but also providing irrigation facilities to small and marginalised farmers, developing land and promoting farming," she said.
"Manifold increase in the produce of farmers can be made by connecting this scheme with the use of modern technologies in agriculture. There is no doubt that MGNREGA can play a big role in fulfilling our dreams of second green revolution," Gandhi said at the MGNREGA conference here.
Acknowledging the challenges in proper implementation of the scheme, the UPA Chairperson said, "we frequently hear complaints of corruption and misutilisation of funds in this scheme. It is very essential to put a check on this."
The government will take steps to reduce its shortcomings through the tools of modern communication and information, she said while maintaining that it was necessary that social audits happened timely and according to norms.
In his inaugural address at the conference, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said 30 new work have already been added to the list of works permitted under MGNREGA, whose focus is by and large on providing employment in rural areas mainly through agriculture.
Besides direct financial benefit, the scheme has given many indirect benefits to the people and brought down the migration graph, he said.
"MGNREGA has brought momentum in the financial inclusion of our rural population. More than four crore accounts have been opened in banks while more than that have been opened in post offices. These accounts will assist us in reaching the incentives of the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme to the rural population," the Prime Minister said.