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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Munde had firm grasp over rural schemes: rural ministry officials

Brajesh Kumar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 03, 2014
First Published: 11:08 IST(3/6/2014) | Last Updated: 11:12 IST(3/6/2014)

The untimely death of rural development minister Gopinath Munde early on Tuesday morning has come as a shock to the officials in the ministry.

They remember him as a leader who listened attentively and had a firm grasp over schemes that affected the masses.

A senior official, who was present in a meeting he had called after he took charge on May 27, recalled how the minister asked pertinent questions on rural job scheme MGNREGA.

"We were surprised about his knowledge on MGNREGA and other schemes," he said.

Although the new government wanted to tweak MGNREGA, Munde was aware of its far reaching impact on rural India and wanted to bring changes in the way it was implemented on the ground.

"He wanted the delay in wage payment to be addressed as early as possible," a ministry official said.

Munde was also not shy of defending the new land bill which had come under attack from his own party that had called it anti industry.

After taking charge as the minister, Munde said the bill was not against urbanisation and industrialisation and that it protected farmers.

Munde's direction to address the issue of delay in wage payment under MGNREGA and his defence of the land bill suggest his connect with rural India and his stature as a mass leader.

His office at Krishi Bhavan saw sea of people visit him from his state Maharashtra and officials had a tough time handling the visitors.

"As against the former minister Jairam Ramesh who was relatively free in the afternoon and used the time to meet the press, Munde's office was always flooding with people," an official recalled.


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