No going slow on rural job programme: Jairam Ramesh


New Delhi : Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said Tuesday there was no question of going slow on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and his ministry was instead trying to increase the average number of work days.

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Speaking at a n ational workshop on social audit of MGNREGA here, Ramesh said there was no question of going slow as it will be a violation of the act passed by parliament.

Denying reports in a section of media that the ministry had informally asked states to go slow on MGNREGA, he said the ministry was grappling with the challenge to increase the number of average days of work under the programme, which were 47 in 2010-11.

The minister also said that he would meet Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to discuss steps to make the social audit of MGNREGA more stringent.

Ramesh said administrative delays should be addressed to make MGNREGA more effective, noting the mechanism in states for supervision of the programme had not been up to the mark.

Rural development ministry officials later said that no informal advisory has been issued advising states to suspend the programme in peak farming season. They said the ministry had not asked the states that they should consider defering MGNREGA during sowing, transplantation and harvesting in their regions.

They said MGNREGA was a demand-driven programme under which 5.49 crore households have been provided employment and 257.15 crore person days have been generated.

The officials said that ministries of rural development and agriculture have been were in constant touch and working together on the programme, which is helped reduce migration of people from rural areas, increased their purchasing power and made them aware of their rights and entitlements.