The Madurai district has recorded tremendous progress in implementing Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) with salary disbursement well above the targeted levels.

Official sources told The Hindu here on Wednesday that this fiscal, the salary disbursement might even be double last year's figure if the current pace of progress were to be maintained.

The week ended on September 9 marked completion of 24 weeks with the expenditure target being Rs. 44.15 crore. However, the district has already achieved Rs. 58.65 crore or 133 per cent. The labour budget for the entire current financial year was Rs. 95.67 crore for the scheme, according to sources.

The blocks of T. Kallupatti and Thirumangalam figure at the top with targeted salary disbursement of Rs. 11.25 crore and Rs. 10.72 crore respectively.

Highest disbursement

Another important feature was that the September 02-09 week saw the salary disbursement of Rs. 3.34 crore, which was the highest amount disbursed in the district since the scheme implementation began in the district in April 30, 2008.

Sources said that while the work generation usually declined in the winter season, it gathers faster pace in the first three months of the year thereby lending momentum towards the end of the financial year.

According to top officials, the main reason propelling the improved performance of the rural job scheme was heightened awareness among villagers, expediting administrative sanction, identifying ‘poromboke' land and ensuring work availability round the year.

Collector interacts

“In rainy season, work was shifted from canals and low-lying areas to laying roads and other projects at safer areas. The Collector also interacted with villagers and explained how the wages are calculated,” a top official said.

Apart from more number of people turning up for the scheme, the quality of work had also gone up. The State Government has determined the MNREGS rate of schedule for wages at 200 per cent of the Public Works Department (PWD) rates for contractors, officials said.

A total of 2.61 lakh persons have been provided employment under this rural job scheme. Since inception of the scheme in Madurai, it has generated 69 lakh person-days of work for women, 29 lakh person-days for scheduled caste members and 34,000 person-days for scheduled tribes.

Administrative sanction has been accorded for 2,565 works in the district with their total value being Rs. 215.89 crore.

More In: Madurai