The ongoing pan-India socio-economic caste census (SECC) is expected to be completed by January 2013 and a new below-poverty-line (BPL) list on the basis of SECC would be available by June-July next, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said here on Tuesday.
“Although some states are lagging behind in SECC, overall 90 per cent work has been completed. Among those lagging behind are Jharkhand and Manipur, where it is 80 per cent complete, Bihar, where it is 50 per cent complete and Uttar Pradesh, where it is 70 per cent complete,” Jairam said.
“After the completion of census, the information would be displayed at respective gram sabhas for 45 days to address any objections and, hopefully, the new BPL list would be prepared by June-July,” he said. “The current BPL list was prepared in 2002 and many of those who shouldn’t be there are in the list and vice versa,” he said.
The minister also said that the ongoing Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) audit of MGNREGA in all states/UTs of India would be completed by January 31. Stating that the Rural Development Ministry is committed towards ensuring transparency, Jairam said that the ministry has already asked all states to select 10 per cent gram panchayats randomly from districts receiving maximum MNREGA funds and get a certification by an independent chartered accountant.
Stating that MNREGA is an important tool for women upliftment, Jairam said he has asked Rural Developement Ministry officials to work out a plan to ensure one-third participation of women in MNREGA by March 2013. Regarding UP, he said although women participation is around 33 per cent in Bundelkhand and Sonbhadra, overall it is just 20 per cent.
“It is 88 per cent in Kerala, 64 per cent in Tamil Nadu, 63 per cent in Rajasthan, 32 per cent in Bihar and 46 per cent in Madhya Pradesh but just 20 per cent in UP,” Ramesh said. He also said he would take up the issue with UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and suggest to him to reserve half of MNREGA work for women.
Jairam also said that opening of accounts in banks or post offices for women MNREGA workers has been made mandatory and that he had also written to Akhilesh in this regard earlier. He cited delay in payment of wages, cultural factors, hesitance of women and preference for men as the reasons for low number of