Par panel for bridging MGNREGA gap

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Agencies
New Delhi, May 2: Underlining the persistent gap between employment demand and the work provided under the government’s flagship scheme MGNREGA in most of the big states, a parliamentary panel today asked the Rural Development Ministry to play a proactive role to bridge it.
The Standing Committee on Rural Development chaired by AIADMK member P Venugopal also expressed its dismay over the non-completion of Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 and asked the government to expedite it.
The panel said it was found that almost a decade-old mega rural employment scheme MGNREGA has been witnessing a gap between employment demanded and employment provided due to several factors.
“For instance, during 2014-15 the number of households, which demanded employment was 4.65 crore, while the household which were given employment was 4.14 crore annually,” the panel said in its 21st report.
The panel found that among 16 MGNREGA beneficiary states, in almost all the big ones like West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh there was a gap between employment demand vis-a-vis work provided.
Noting that although the number of households provided employment in 2015-16 was higher than the previous year, the panel said it yet strongly felt that considering the persistent gap, largely in big states, the rural development department should play a proactive role to bridge it in a more focussed manner.
It also expressed its dismay over the issue of the appointment of Ombudsman at district level in different states for MGNREGA works.
On the issue of slashing of funds, it said, “The Committee is constrained to note that the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has suffered huge reduction of funds during the 12th Plan (2012-17) period.
“For instance, as against the requirement of funds of Rs 2.03 lakh crore recommended by the Working Group on Rural Roads, the PMGSY could actually get Rs 51,076 crore, which is 25 per cent of the original demand worked out by the Working Group.”
It also noted that the PMGSY could accomplish only 65 per cent connectivity of rural road since its inception.