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Seven years after the launch of UPA's flagship programme, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), rural development minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday said the mega job guarantee scheme has failed to create durable assets in rural areas.
“The works taken up under NREGA have not been of good quality and henceforth our focus would be create durable assets at the village level,” Ramesh said.
Earlier, Ramesh mooted greater flexibility in the guidelines of NREGA for creation of greater durable assets in the rural areas. “The mega programme requires more flexibility as its unfair to stick to 60% (labour cost) and 40% (material cost) norms across the country for projects taken up under NREGA,” he said.
He acknowledged that the Centre wants to stop the prevalent practices of wage payment under NREGA on the basis attendance of workers instead the payment would be made on the basis of measurement of work completed.
“NREGA is not a dole programme and creation of jobs and durable assets must be accomplished under the mega job guarantee scheme,” Ramesh said.
Acknowledging that unemployment allowance has not been given as stipulated under NREGA to those workers who have not been given employment within a time-frame, Ramesh said the states would be asked to pay the allowance in case of inability to provide manual work.
“If wages are delayed beyond 15 days, a compensation of 0.05% of wage per day of delay will be paid and the same will be duly deducted from the salary of the responsible person,” he said. In the first phase, NREGA was introduced in 200 most backward districts. Now, the scheme has been expanded to 600 districts.