Special Correspondent

Thiruvananthapuram: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has promised a higher outlay for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) but made it clear that the State would oppose the move to entrust non-governmental organisations the task of implementing it.

In his budget speech in the Assembly on Friday, Dr. Isaac said he was planning a higher allocation that would be double the Rs.500 crore allocation made in 2009-10. He would be able to spend more because the issue of strict compliance of conditions had been sorted out. The scheme would be utilised for large-scale planting of trees in barren lands and other types of land.

It was unfortunate that the Centre should have rejected the State's proposal to utilise MGNREGS for the EMS Housing Scheme and replanting of cash crops, he said.

He termed the move to entrust NGOs with the task of implementing the scheme as a “major threat.” “This is not acceptable to Kerala. This scheme in our State is designed to be implemented by Local Self-Government Institutions with the help of Kudumbasree and it has proved effective. Any attempt to weaken this system will make the LSGIs weak and also will lead to sectarian interferences,” he said.