"I do not see NREGA as a permanent employment generating programme. It is a transition programme for a 20-25 year period in areas where there is a need for distress employment," he said while inaugurating 'IDFC Limited's India Rural Development Report 2013'.
The Minister said the Government will be bringing out changes in the implementation of the UPA flagship scheme NREGA by focusing on creation of durable community assets under the programme. Under the scheme, unemployed people are given employment for at least 100 days in rural areas.
Jairam Ramesh: NREGA is a transition programme
Commenting on the "fundamental problems" with the programme, the Minister said, they stem from the conflicting nature of its three objectives. "The objective number one of the NREGA is to providing wages, objective number two is to create government community assets and three is to empower gram panchayats. At no point of times all the three objectives can be achieved," he said.
Ramesh said the Government was also planning to bring in skill development as part of the NREGA project as it is going to launch a scheme in Maoist-affected areas where 50,000 youth would be provided skills as well as jobs. Dwelling on the positive aspects of the programme, the Minister said this has helped in significantly reducing the distress migration from states such as Bihar and Odisha to Punjab and Haryana and this has been felt by the Railways as not many such expected passengers have travelled between the two places.