With 2014 in mind, Centre makes major changes in MNREGA

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 16 Desember 2013 | 07.20

NEW DELHI: Ahead of Lok Sabha polls, the Centre tried to reach out to rural masses on Monday by making major changes in its flagship programme MNREGA which include Rs 10,000 for constructing toilets for all job cardholders and assistance for buildings for women self-help federations.

In a bid to address the issue of delay in distributing wage payment to MNREGA workers, the UPA government also announced compensation for them if it is delayed beyond 15 days and the amount would be deducted from officials responsible for it.

"Every (MNREGA) job cardholder will be entitled to build an individual toilet and the MNREGA contribution goes up from the current Rs 4,500 to Rs 10,000," rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said announcing changes in Schedule I and Schedule II of the Centre's ambitious rural job scheme.

Ramesh, who also held the sanitation portfolio for a brief period, said that with this decision, the government was universalizing the toilet construction programme in the country where 60 per cent of its people still defecate in the open.

"Anybody who has a job card, you may be APL ... and if you don't have a toilet at your home, you will get Rs 10000 under MNRGA for constructing toilet ... What we are doing is we are expanding the universe of people who can build toilets," the minister said.

He announced contribution from MNREGA for building houses for the poor in convergence with Indira Awas Yojana or any other state rural housing scheme, buildings for women self help federations operating in village or block levels, community storage facilities at gram panchayat or women SHG levels for agriculture produce and centres for manufacturing building materials like bricks in gram panchayats.

On the issue of delayed MNREGA payment, Ramesh said, "If wages are delayed beyond 15 days, a compensation at 0.05 per cent of wage per day of delay will be paid and the same will be duly deducted from the salary of the responsible personnel." The minister also said that the payment should not be on "attendance" but on measurement of work.

"I am sorry to say in many states payment is being given on attendance," he said.


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