Expansion of NREGA not with an eye on poll :Congress

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New Delhi, Sep 28 (UNI) The Congress Party today welcomed the extension of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA)to the whole of the country, and said the decision was not prompted by a possible mid-term poll.

"It was a sceheme of the people, for the people and by the people, initiated by the Congress Party," AICC Spokesman Abishek Manu Singhvi told newspersons.

In this context, he clarified that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act itself contemplated expansion of the scheme to all-India basis.

Asked why the announcement was made in a hurry, though the original plan was to extend the scheme to the entire country before 2009, he said "Let us not have doubting Thomasus." Asked if the Congress Party had gone into election mode, Dr Singhvi said, "good things require no mode." He said there was no resource problem. "It is there only in the mind of the Opposition." When a reporter pointed out that there were complaints about the implementation of the scheme in many states, Dr Singhvi said "any good scheme has scope for improvement." But it was a fact that the scheme had revolutionised the rural areas and effectively addressed the problem of unemployment in remote areas.

"The scheme reflects the concern of the Congress Party and the UPA government for the aam aadmi," he said, while adding that "it is not a dole or charity. It combines dignity of labour with those people who are deprived in society." He thanked the government for expanding the scheme to cover all the rural districts within a few days after a party delegation led by its new General Secretary Rahul Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urged him to improve the quality of the work under the scheme and the kind of assets created.


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