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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

NDA govt to have its stamp on MGNREGA soon

Brajesh Kumar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 08, 2014
First Published: 00:06 IST(8/6/2014) | Last Updated: 01:39 IST(8/6/2014)

The national rural employment guarantee in a new format will have more funds for asset creation, penalty for late disbursal of funds by the Centre and removing the five-km restriction for seeking work.

Working on inputs from state governments, the Centre would be revamping the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) with an aim to create productive assets. 

Government officials said that some of the likely changes in the flagship scheme include reversing the job material ratio from existing 60:40 to 40:60 in favour of material, penalising the Centre for delay in disbursal of money and removing the 5km radius restriction for seeking work.

The changes have been suggested by a number of states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar in a meeting with the officials of the rural development ministry this week.

States’ consent for the change in MGNREGA is a shot in the arm for the Narendra Modi-led government which had included the restructuring of the scheme in its manifesto prior to the Lok Sabha elections. 

“One of the most important changes suggested by the states was the reversal of the wage material ration. If the material component is increased to 60%, the states will be able to focus on creation of durable assets instead of indulging in kutcha work,” Aruna Sharma, the additional chief secretary, Madhya Pradesh who attending the meeting called by the rural development ministry told HT.

Sharma, who is also in charge of the rural development ministry in her state said decreasing the wage ratio to 40% made sense as the demand for work has decreased. According to ministry’s data, the number of households provided employment fell from 5.49 crore in 2010-11 to 4.67 crore in 2013-14.
 
“Since the demand for work has been decreasing over the years, it is better to raise the material ratio and create durable assets,” Sharma said.

Changing the ratio would however need amendment in the Act and can only be done by the Parliament. Other changes suggested can however be done by executive orders.


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