Noting that there are variations in demand for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), the Government on Monday said it would continue with the rural job scheme.
The Government also informed the Rajya Sabha that an action plan has been formulated to improve the implementation of MNREGA.
“There are variations in demand for work under the scheme year to year, depending on seasonal factors, but there is no steady decline. The wage employment provided has increased from 218.76 crore person days in 2011—12 to 219.72 crore person days in 2013—14,” Minister of State for Rural Development Upendra Kushwaha said in a written statement.
Asked whether the government plans to continue with MNREGA, which is a demand driven programme, he said, “Yes“.
The Minister said the demand for work itself is influenced by various factors such as rainfall pattern, availability of alternative and remunerative employment opportunities outside MNREGA and prevailing unskilled wage rates.
Announcing the action plan to improve implementation of the programme, the Government said it includes improving quality of assets by better planning and technical supervision, greater facility for taking up larger and durable assets, including convergence with other departments.
To reduce delays in payment of wages under MNREGA, a system of payment of compensation for such delays was brought in Para 29 of Schedule II of the Act and the states have been advised to ensure compliance with this provision, the Minister said.
The government said States have been asked to universalise operationalisation of electronic Fund Management System to ensure smooth flow of funds from states to wage seekers and to eliminate delays in payment of wages.
The states have also been asked to implement social audits more vigorously to control irregularities in implementation.
Kushwaha also said the states have been asked to put in place an ombudsman in every district to hear and resolve grievances.