Staff Correspondent

HASSAN: The Union Government has increased wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGREGA) to Rs. 100 from the earlier Rs. 82, Union Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain has said.

Addressing presspersons in Shravanabelagola on Tuesday, he said the MGREGA was meant for the overall development of villages in the country and was a programme for employment creation. “The principle behind the initiative is “Rozgar” (employment) which is everybody’s right. The scheme must reach every eligible person in the villages and is meant to lift them from poverty. Any kind of work can be taken up under the Act,” he said.

Mr. Jain expressed regret that the Karnataka Government had not fully utilised funds under the Act and that it had not sent any new project proposals to the Centre. Andhra Pradesh stood first in terms of fund utilisation while Rajasthan came second. The Minister said there was no shortage of funds for implementation of projects under the Act, but the Centre could release funds only when States forwarded it plans of action and project proposals. The Minister said the Centre was aware of corruption in the implementation of the MGREGA and said it was the responsibility of the States to curb it. He said the Centre had already directed the States to appoint an Ombudsman in all taluks for inspection of work taken up under the MGREGA. The States had already been asked to display the list of works taken up. . He said there should be a survey of all works in each village as well as an audit of funds spent. Tahsildar Varaprasad Reddy was present.