Terming NREGA as a "story worth telling", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the issue of delayed payment to workers under the programme should be addressed at the earliest and sought concurrent audit of rural development schemes.
"I am surprised to hear from (Rural Development Minister) Jairam Ramesh that concurrent evaluation processes are not in good shape. When I was in the Planning Commission long ago, I think we have started the programme of concurrent evaluation for number of programmes of rural development.
"I don't know why they are languishing, if they are at all languishing. But I would request (Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia to apply his mind to making good this deficiency as well," he said.
Both Ramesh and Ahluwalia were present at the programme.
Singh was addressing a programme here to mark the release of 'MGNREGA Sameeksha', an anthology of research study on UPA's flagship scheme.
He termed the compendium an "innovative way" of looking at development projects. Singh said NREGA was UPA government's most popular and successful flagship programme.
"Statistics do not tell the whole truth. The Mahatma Gandhi NREGA story in numbers is a story worth telling...the scheme scores high on inclusivness...no welfare scheme in recent memory has caught the imagination of the people as much as NREGA has," the Prime Minister said.
Referring to the issue of delayed payments to NREGA workforce, the Prime Minister said, "sooner we tackle this problem of delayed payments, I think better results would be in the offing."
He said it was encouraging to know that in Andhra Pradesh data entry is in real time and pay orders for wage payments are generated online. "This directly addresses the issue of delayed payments and should be replicated elsewhere."