Observing that MNREGA has brought about “financial inclusion” of rural population, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday expressed confidence that bank and post office accounts opened under the central scheme will assist government in providing direct cash transfers to the people.
“MNREGA has brought momentum in the financial inclusion of our rural population. Besides direct financial benefit, the scheme has given many indirect benefits to the people and brought down the migration graph,” Dr. Singh said at a conference here on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
Noting that more than four crore accounts have been opened in banks besides those in post offices, the Prime Minister said “these accounts will assist us in reaching the incentives of the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme to the rural population”.
The use of information technology in MNREGA at many levels has helped making governance better and increase accountability and transparency in government work, he said.
Dr. Singh said the Centre has taken many new initiatives related to the UPA’s flagship scheme in last one year.
Thirty new works have already been added to the list of works permitted under MNREGA, whose focus is mainly on providing employment in rural areas primarily through agriculture, he said.
Dr. Singh said a huge improvement can be made in the services bring provided under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) if the resources available with both MNREGA and ICDS can be used together.
The Prime Minister also asked the Rural Development Ministry to ensure, in consultation with states, that panchayats are provided full technical assistance.
“This will help prepare the labour budget truly as per the local development plan and will facilitate the inclusion of all possible resources. Besides, this will also strengthen the Panchyati Raj institutions and increase people’s participation in development works,” Dr. Singh said.