Opposition on Thursday refuted government claims that wages of labourers had increased across the board due to hike in MNREGA wages and demanded that periodic state-wise meetings of MPs should be held to plug practical loopholes in the scheme.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour that there was “indisputable evidence” across the country that wages have increased due to rise in MNREGA wages.

His deputy Pradeep Jain said 100 days employment was provided to 55 Lakh people last year under MNREGA.

The government claimed that there has been 10-15 per cent increase in cultivable land in Andhra Pradesh due to MNREGA.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, however, countered these claims saying the scheme in its present form was full of impracticalities.

“The truth is that on the ground this scheme is unsuccessful ... Neither is employment being generated (under MNREGA) nor is wealth being created,” she said.

She suggested that state-wise meetings of MPs be held by the Centre to discuss the impracticalities in the scheme and ways to remove them.

Mr. Jain’s attempt to convince the House that vigilance monitoring committees were active in every district did not placate the opposition.

The minister further said the responsibility of removing anomalies in the scheme lay with the state governments as they were the implementing agency.

Mr. Jain conceded that there was need for holding state-wise meetings of MPs.

Speaker Meira Kumar suggested that the House should hold a separate discussion on MNREGA.

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