HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

NREGA is good but it may be tweaked, says Munde

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 28, 2014
First Published: 00:18 IST(28/5/2014) | Last Updated: 01:59 IST(28/5/2014)
On the first day on his job, rural development minister Gopinath Munde hinted that the Modi government could go for restructuring of the rural job scheme NREGA.
He also defended the land acquisition bill saying it was not against industrialisation and urbanization.

Talking to reporters after taking charge on Tuesday, he said he liked NREGA but it needed changes.

“This scheme is best for villages. Basically, people get employment, but proper management was a problem,” he said.

On what was wrong with the flagship programme that guarantees up to 100 days of employment per household per year, and is widely credited for bringing back UPA II to power in 2009, he said development needed to go hand in hand with the employment.

“I think the money should go to the development of villages and people should get employment. I want to link the programme with the progress of villages. Development of villages and employment will go together,” he said.

On May 24, HT had reported how the rural ministry was pitching for restructuring of NREGA and had prepared a roadmap for the new government for the same.

The Minister said that he will call a meeting of State Rural Development Ministers to deliberate on various issues linked to the progress of villages. He said that his main focus will be on taking the policies and schemes made in Delhi to the villages of the country.

Munde also defended the land acquisition bill, which has come in for criticism for being anti-industry, and said it is not against industrialisation and urbanisation.

“It’s a very good Act. Now this is my responsibility, this law should be implemented. I will do this rigorously. For last 20 years, people were demanding this new legislation,” he said.

On sanitation and drinking water, he said budgetary allocation for the two should be increased further.

“Present allocation is not enough. I will give a proper shape to sanitation programme. Toilets should be constructed in every rural house hold and public place as it is an issue involving the dignity of women,” he said.

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