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NREGS covers only 14% of target
Published on 15 Dec. 2009 11:55 PM IST
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Admitting to huge slippages in its flagship rural jobs scheme, the government informed parliament Tuesday that only 14 percent of its target of providing 100 days of work in a year had been met. “We are committed to providing 100 days of work in a year to one member of every rural household in a year under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). But in 2008-09, we could achieve only 14 percent of the target,” Rural Development Minister C.P. Joshi said during question hour in the Rajya Sabha. Responding to a supplementary, Joshi denied that West Bengal was owed Rs.700 crore under the scheme. “In April, we raised the wage to Rs.100 a day and provided the necessary money to those states that asked for this. West Bengal has asked for Rs.87 a day,” he said. On Dec 8, Joshi had informed the Rajya Sabha that only Rs.7 crore had been siphoned off from NREGS, denying that 40 percent of its outlay had found its way into the wrong hands. A whopping Rs.40,000 crore had been allocated for the scheme during fiscal 2009-10. Posing a supplementary, Rajeev Shukla of the Congress Party said: “There are reports that 40 percent of the funds have been siphoned off. There should be a central monitoring agency for the scheme.” In reply, Joshi said: “It is not true that 40 percent of the funds have disappeared. The CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) and the state governments have been asked to look into the matter.” Replying to a supplementary from K. Malaisamy (AIADMK) on whether there would be a fair enquiry into the missing funds, the minister said: “We have asked the states to appoint an ombudsman in every district (to monitor the flow of NREGS funds).”

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