Modi govt vows to revitalise UPA's rural employment scheme NREGA

The Narendra Modi government will focus on streamlining the rural employment scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), created by the previous Manmohan Singh government by checking rampant corruption involved in its administration, a senior official of Gopinath Munde's rural development ministry said in a newspaper interview on Friday.

This is a marked departure from previous administrations, which would never publicly acknowledge any scheme started by a previous government.

"The perspective plan for a district will be for five years with annual parameters and targets and MGNREGA works will flow from this," The Times of India quoted rural development secretary L C Goyal as saying.

Munde's idea is to link the NREGA to the development of the villages concerned. It will be a radical change from the present system of "labour budgets" which is riddled with poor selection of work, lacking scientific assessment of needs and resources.

With the growing possibility of a realistic assessment of the assets required, the villages would be forced to think beyond ditch-digging about more productive works like agriculture, thereby bringing about convergence with other activities. "This will help the local economy with special focus on agriculture," Goyal said.