Financial inclusion brought about by MGNREGA would help the government reach out to the poor through direct benefits transfer, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday.
Speaking at the eighth anniversary of the UPA flagship programme, he referred to crores of bank and post office accounts that have been opened in name of NREGA workers over the last few years — so their wages could be credited.
“MGNREGA has added pace to the financial inclusion of our rural population. More than four crore accounts were opened in the banks and many more in post offices. These accounts would help direct benefit transfer (DBT) reach these people,” Singh said.
On January 1, the Centre had launched the DBT scheme in 20 districts of the country on a pilot basis. Now, there are plans to implement it across the country.
UPA chief Sonia Gandhi observed the right-to-work programme has the potential to bring in a second green revolution.
“MGNREGA has the potential to increase our agriculture production. There are possibilities of creating community assets and also developing land, irrigation facilities to support small and marginal farmers,” Gandhi said.
“Farm production could be multiplied by linking the scheme to the use of modern farm techniques. MGNREGA can play a big role in launching a second green revolution.”
However, there were many who did not agree.
“Thanks to vested interests and unwilling state machinery, in many places the scheme is failing to provide work on demand — getting marred by low wages and payment delays. The dependents — mostly SC/STs — are losing interest and hope in the programme,” Aruna Roy, right-to-work activist and NAC member, said.