13 May 2012

No foodgrain for MGNREGA works now, says Jairam

Union Minister for Rural development Shri Jairam Ramesh has reiterated his opposition to the food ministry’s proposal for providing grain as part-payment of wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha today, he said, under the Rural Job Guarantee Act labourers cannot be provided foodgrain, as the law permits wage payment only through bank accounts and Post Office pass books. He, however, added that the proposal is still under consideration and it will take some time to arrive at a final conclusion. The Minister also made it clear that the experience of food for work programme is not positive.

Earlier, Shri Ramesh said that the work carried out under the food for work programme was really of bad quality and the government does not want to repeat the same mistake. Under the food for work programme, there was not only massive pilferage of grain but also the assets created were of inferior quality. The National Food for Work Programme was launched in 2004 in 150 most-backward districts of the country, identified by the Planning Commission, which aimed at generating supplementary wage employment and providing food security through community assets. Subsequently, the programme was merged with NREGA in 2006. 

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