New Delhi, Aug 6: Barely months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised MNREGS calling it a "living monument" of UPA's failures, the Rural Development Ministry today said the employment scheme has benefited villages by reducing distress migration and improving wage levels among the poor.
"In all states and Union Territories including Jharkhand, MGNREGA has reduced distress migration among rural poor, smoothened rural consumption in the lean season, set high standards in transparency, addressed under-employment problem and created assets and improved livelihoods," Minister of State for Rural Development Sudharshan Bhagat said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.
The minister praised the scheme saying it "gave boost to the financial inclusion" and "strengthened Gram Panchayats".
The MGNREGA, he said, "improved the wage levels in rural areas and thereby increasing the income levels of the poorest of the poor, set standards for decent working conditions and helped in bringing fallow lands into cultivation."
In March, the Prime Minister, while replying to the debate on Motion of Thanks to the President's address in Lok Sabha, was particularly severe on the Congress on its pet scheme MNREGS.
"This is a living monument of your failure to tackle poverty in 60 years. With song and dance and beating of drums, I will continue with the scheme," he had said.
"MNREGA will stay. My political instinct says don't end MNREGA. I will never make that mistake," Modi had said.