The government on Monday dismissed suggestions that the Centre’s rural job guarantee scheme has been witnessing decline in demand and popularity and said the ambitious scheme saw a better performance in 2012-2013 than the previous years.
“The year 2012-13 witnessed a better performance under the Act than the year 2011-12. The volume of wage-employment grew from 216.34 crore per person-days in 2011-12 to 228.16 crore person-days in 2012-13,” Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain ‘Aditya’ told the Rajya Sabha.
In his reply to a written query, the minister also said MNREGA is a demand driven wage employment programme and being a self-selecting wage-employment scheme, the increase or the decline in the demand for labour under the Act may arise due to a myriad of factors external to the programme management.
Such factors include available of alternative and remunerative employment opportunities outside MNREGA, rainfall pattern, prevailing unskilled wage rate in rural, semi-urban and urban areas, better connectivity to semi-urban, peri-urban and urban areas.
Responding to another query, Jain said to ensure timely payment and enhance the integrity of wage payments, wages are now being disbursed to workers under the scheme through accounts in banks or post offices.