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MNREGA not ‘Avatar of god’ which cannot be touched: BJP

Lok Sabha on Tuesday saw a war of words over MNREGA, with opposition accusing the government of diluting MNREGA and BJP members hitting back by saying it is not an ‘Avatar of god’ which cannot be touched.

Initiating a debate in the Lok Sabha, Sankar Prasad Datta (CPI-M) said the BJP government was trying to dilute the rural job scheme and demanded that its scope be expanded to include more districts.

“I will say that the central government is not interested in running the scheme,” he said.

The scheme has been a boon for states like Tripura, he said, adding that it provided jobs to poor people and the northeastern state was first among all states in its efficient execution.

The Narendra Modi government claims to work for the poor and it should increase financial allocation under the scheme, Datta said, citing figures to claim that allotment of money to it has instead been going down. Countering him, Hukumdev Narayan Yadav (BJP) said the scheme was anti-farmer and recalled that all farmers associations had opposed it in their comments before a parliamentary committee on agriculture headed by then CPI(M) MP Basudeb Acharia in the last Lok Sabha.

“When planning commission can be given a makeover, then why not MNREGA. Is it a avatar of God that cannot be touched?,” he said, urging the government to review all schemes launched by previous Congress governments.
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