Centre slams J&K govt over poor rural job project record

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Srinagar, March 26: The Centre has slammed the Jammu and Kashmir government, saying the latter could complete only 21.3 per cent of the work related to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the flagship rural employment project of the UPA government.

The Union rural development ministry has sent a letter to the state's chief secretary in this regard. The ministry has said that the major implementation issues of the MGNREGA needed to be addressed urgently.

It said 87% of the total work was delayed by over three months and adequate steps were required to ensure that the work is completed on time. The ministry, in its letter, also questioned the payment of wages to the workers, pointed out that nearly Rs 10 crore of payment was delayed by more than three months. It said technological mechanism need to replace manual efforts to reduce misuse.

The ministry also blamed the labour budgeting of the NGNREGA by the state government and said there was a big gap in projection and estimation. According to one report, in 2011-12, only 208.11 person-days of employment could be generated while the projected labour budgeting was 356.40 lakh person-days.

The ministry said funds were not a constraint under the MGNREGA but their release depended largely on a realistic labour budget and how quickly the state is able to utilise the funds available with it.

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