Modi government trying to end MGNREGS, says Jairam Ramesh

Various government interventions have been introduced to kill the programme implemented by the Congress, says the former Rural Development Minister

February 03, 2024 09:02 pm | Updated 11:05 pm IST - New Delhi

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. File

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

A day after the 18th anniversary of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS, senior Congress leader and former Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh accused the Narendra Modi government of trying to end the programme, citing various interventions by the government that impede the effective implementation of the scheme.

MGNREGS was part of the Congress’s 2004 election manifesto, which Mr. Ramesh said was implemented within a year of the party coming to power (the Act was passed on August 23, 2005). The programme, which he said has proved to be a gamechanger, became functional on February 2, 2006.

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“Research over the last 18 years shows that it(the scheme) has increased rural incomes, reduced poverty and hunger and has proven to be most beneficial for women and SC/ST/OBC workers. This gives respect to the workers because under this, employment is given as a right and not as a rewari, as the Prime Minister used to say,” Mr. Ramesh said.

Various interventions — such as low budgetary allocation, Aadhaar-based payment system that excludes 35% of registered workers, seven crore job card deletions and a smartphone-based attendance system — have been introduced with the design to kill the programme, he said.

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“Of course, the PM’s capitalist friends are not happy with MGNREGS and in his arrogance, the PM will try to do anything to destroy the programmes introduced by the Congress, even if it means harm to the poor. This is the reason why he is trying to end MGNREGA,” he said.

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