Rural Development Ministry has urged the Planning Commission to take a decision soon on the districts to be taken up in the country for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme during 2007-08 periods.
Addressing a Press conference he said in a letter to the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission he had asked Planning Commission to make their selection soon as the Ministry would need few months after the announcement is made to start the programme in those districts. The scheme is already running in 200 districts of the country.
Reacting to a question that Planning Commission was bit apprehensive about the financial implications of expanding the scheme, Singh said, "it is not the Planning Commission which takes a final decision on these issues; there is the Finance Minister, Prime Minister and the cabinet."
He said the government is committed to operationalise the scheme in all the districts of the country in a five year time period.
He said till date 3.34 crore job cards have been issued under the Act and 1.36 crore households have demanded employment.
In 2006-07, Rs. 6254.74 crore and Rs.460 crore have been released by the centre and the state respectively, for this scheme, he added.
He said under NREGA 5.23 lakh works have been taken up out of which 1.87 lakh works have been completed and 3.36 is under progress. More than 50 per cent of the work is related to water conservation, he added.
He said to promote Self Help Group movement in the country under the Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna it is being planned to form a national level federation and also cover at least one member from each rural BPL family in the Eleventh Plan. A Rural Products Marketing Agency will be established to promote marketing infrastructure for rural products, he added.
In case of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna he said large unspent balance with states is a major area of concern.
States with large targets have been urged to maximise their efforts during the remaining four months so that there is no shortfall in achieving the set target, he added.