The Rajya Sabha on Thursday approved re-naming the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGREGA), but not before the Government was criticised for corruption in the implementation of the scheme launched in 2005.

Responding to clarifications, Union Minister for Rural Development C.P. Joshi announced that there would be a “different wage index” under the scheme, one that may not necessarily be linked to the price index but which would be close to “real wages.” The Ministry had written about this to the Department of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

To demands from Brinda Karat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Tariq Anwar of the Nationalist Congress Party, Mr. Joshi announced that the minimum wages notified by a State government would be honoured by the Centre. He added that the Central government had notified on December 3 that the minimum wages to be paid under the scheme would be Rs.100 with (retrospective) effect from April 1, 2009.

On Ms. Karat’s request, Mr. Joshi agreed to undertake a study on the gap between the schedule of rates and the nature of work for women. Ms. Karat also sought an independent measure for women’s labour, adding that she also wanted the limit on convergence of works to go as it was disadvantageous to the needy.

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