We have transformed MGNREGA: Birender
In a bid to project a farmer-friendly image, the NDA- government presented an Annual Budget 2016-17 with a special focus on the agrarian and rural sector, with a renewed emphasis on implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA). Lauding the allocation made in the Annual Budget 2016-17 to the three ministries - Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation and Panchayati Raj – headed by Union Minister Birender Singh, on Tuesday said the budget’s “pro-farmer and pro-village thrust and said that it will transform the rural India by economically empowering the poor people.”
Singh while addressing a press conference stressed that the Narendra Modi-government had aptly implemented MGNREGA. “We have transformed MGNREGA, removing its limitations. After completion of 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a year, they can now go in for skill training programmes as well. We have focused on employment generation through the scheme. Also asset creation is a core area of focus and for this every panchayat has started keeping a record.” Arun Jaitley in the Union budget allocated Rs 38,500 crore for MGNREGA.
Singh said that this government had given a new impetus to MGNREGA as it has increased the allocation by over Rs 3,800 crore in 2016-17 at Rs 38,500 crore, while it was Rs 34,699 crore in the last fiscal. He said, “If the total amount is spent, it will be the highest budget spends on MGNREGA and there will be no dearth of fund for the rural job scheme as it is a demand driven programme.” The Minister said that steps are being taken to address “problems like leakages and delay in payments by linking the payment through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and simplification of procedures.”
The minister said that “for the first time that more than one lakh crore has been earmarked for the three Ministries with the Rural Development Ministry alone getting a substantial share of more than Rs 87, 000 crore.” He was flanked by respective Ministers of State - Sudarshan Bhagat (Rural Development), Ram Kripal Yadav (Drinking Water & Sanitation) and Nihal Chand (Panchayati Raj). Terming the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) as one the most successful schemes, he said “Rs 19,000 crore has been allocated to it this year, which is more than double the annual allocation of 2013-14.”
On the issue of rural housing, he informed that “soon a new scheme called ‘Housing for All’ will be announced to construct 2 crore 95 lakh houses and the Ministry has proposed to double the amount from the existing Rs 70, 000 for plain areas and Rs 75,000 in hilly and difficult areas to construct each dwelling unit.”In this year’s budget Rs 15,000 crore has been allocated for Indira Aawas Yojana, which is the highest ever allocation for the scheme, he added.