A new Below Poverty Line (BPL) survey will be completed in six months, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Government of India, said here on Thursday.

“Now we are going to have BPL census again. We are starting from June,” Mr.Deshmukh said. “Detailed census will be done because the last census was done in 2003. There were so many complaints from State Governments about people being left out [of beneficiaries’ lists]. Now we have said that let it be a fresh detailed survey. Within six months the first survey will be out. Final survey will come in one year,” he added.

The BPL census will be conducted by the respective State/Union Territory. The Ministry of Rural Development will provide technical including methodology and financial support for this purpose.

Bio metric system for MNREGA

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) beneficiaries will soon get spot payment if a pilot project on bio metric system succeeds. The pilot project is on in Rajasthan and, depending on the success of the project, it will be expanded in phases. “Many companies have come forward with their bio-metric systems. We have to test these on the ground and see if it works properly,” he said and added that the Ministry was in search of a basic but sturdy system.

Asked if there was a re-thinking going on relating to the implementation of the MNREGA, he said there was some re-thinking on the need to create concrete assets.

His Ministry was aware of the Andhra Pradesh model of providing farm work under MNREGA but had not taken a view on it to allow other States to follow suit. Many States had complained about lack of agricultural labour. While some officials are of the view that labour could be found for the right wages, others claim that farmers were in no position to pay higher wages at a time when input costs were shooting up.

Mr.Deshmukh is in Colombo to represent India in the fourth South Asia Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN). He signed the Colombo declaration which wants governments in the SAARC region to work progressively to realise the United Nations resolution on Right to Sanitation and implement these in the programmes and projects of the country and finally, pass a legislation and make it legally binding on governments to provide access to sanitation.

Mr. Deshmukh met the Sri Lankan Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, Senior Minister for Rural Affairs Athauda Seneviratne and, Minister for Water Supply and Drainage Dinesh Goonewardena. The various developmental initiatives by Government of India for rehabilitation and resettlement of IDPs in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka were also discussed and the Prime Minister was appreciative of the various initiatives undertaken by India in this regard, a release said.

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