Govt to consider 200 days of assured jobs in rural areas

Govt to consider 200 days of assured jobs in rural areas

New Delhi: Refuting Opposition charges in the Rajya Sabha that the rural job guarantee programme has failed, the Government on 7 December said it would consider doubling the number of days of assured employment under the flagship programme to 200 a year.

Winding up a discussion on the misuse of funds under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said, “We will consider members’ suggestion for raising the number of days of guaranteed jobs from 100 now to 200. We will also consider facilities like health insurance to the rural workers employed under the programme."

Admitting that the ambitious programme had to face some “teething troubles", the minister rubbished the charges of diversion of funds and asserted that there has been no “loot" of funds as alleged by some members.

However, he said, the states needed to improve their monitoring and enrolment of the beneficiaries and added that money was not a constraint.

Singh said to ensure transparency, the government will carry out on-line monitoring, and complaints of misuse of funds would be inquired into. “I have asked the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to go into the scheme," he said.

The minister said he had written to Finance Minister P. Chidambarm to ensure opening of banks in the remote areas so that the beneficiaries can be disbursed wages through their bank accounts.