Parl Panel moots merger of MPLADS, MNREGA funds

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The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development on Monday asked the Government to explore convergence of MPLADS funds with the Mahatma Gandhi Natural Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Scheme as it would create a wider resource pool for creation of work, the common objective of the two schemes.

The Union Budget for 2017-18 has allocated Rs 48,000 crore for the MGNREGA Scheme, which is demand driven, and guarantees 100 days’ unskilled work to every rural household in a year. MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) allows each MP to suggest to the District Collector works worth Rs 5 crore in his constituency
every year.

After a scrutiny of the Ministry of Rural Development budgetary demands for the coming financial year, the Standing Committee headed by Dr P Venugopal, said the convergence of MPLADS with MGNREGA would only “augment the fulfillment of providing more number of persons with work and income,” and asked the Ministry to “concretise the holistic plan as early as possible.”

Expressing concern over the disparity in the minimum wages notified by different state governments, and the minimum wages paid under the MGNREGA scheme, the committee said the situation created a “discrepancy at ground level in the implementation of the MGNREGA provisions.” When the ministry disclosed that a committee under the chairmanship of Dr Mahendra Dev was examining the issue, the Parliamentary panel said the government should expedite building a consensus on it.

The Standing Committee regretted “the linkage of Aadhaar numbers with the bank accounts of labourers under MGNREGA Scheme was still no complete and was lagging behind drastically in certain States”.

Stating that the scheme for the rural poor needs to be efficient in grievance redressal, the Committee asked the Ministry to complete the process of appointing Ombudsmen in all states earnestly.

Commenting on the recently-framed scheme of Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY), the Standing Committee said despite maximum efforts by MPs, “there seems to be total absence of requisite coordination between the Department of Rural Development and the State Governments about the manner to achieve the  desired goals envisaged under the SAGY Scheme.” Many projects were agreed upon under the scheme but there was no headway in their implementation so far.

The Government schemes should give priority to the villages selected by the MPs for their
development as model villages, the report said.