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August 14, 2014

Trinamool raises the issue of restricting MGNERGA scheme to specific blocks in RS

Trinamool raises the issue of restricting MGNERGA scheme to specific blocks in RS

Trinamool MP Derek O'Brien today made a Special Mention in the Rajya Sabha on the concern regarding the Government'sdecision to intensify implementation of MGNREGA in certain blocks, whileleaving other blocks out.

Full transcript of his speech:

West Bengal's approved budget forthe implementation of MGNREGA in the previous financial year was Rs 6124.98crores of which the central share was supposed to be Rs 5512 crores. The Statereceived only Rs 2894.38 crores against the promised Rs 5500 crores.

On account of reduced fundingfrom the Centre, the state share payable fell to Rs 321.60 crores. However, thestate government released an enhanced share of Rs 424.44 crores to make up forthe Centre's shortfall in an understanding that it would be adjusted during2014-15.

2014-2015, again began with apending liability of Rs 1962.15 crores. The first tranche of the central sharewas released in April 2014 and the state received only Rs 1782.99 crores, a sumnot enough to cover even the Centre's liability from the previous year. TheState Government once again released an additional sum of Rs 400 crores. As oftoday, the Centre's liability towards West Bengal stands at Rs 1962.67 crores.

The Ministry of Rural Developmenthas asked states to identify 2500 backward blocks for an IntensiveParticipatory Planning Exercise for MGNREGA for the coming financial year. Thereare 124 such blocks in West Bengal. The stated objective of the exercise is tointensify planning in the identified blocks. There are apprehensions that allfuture MGNREGA activities would be concentrated in these blocks only.  Such a measure would be against the spirit ofthe MGNREGA which stipulates 100 days assured employment on demand to every jobcard-holder.

In 2012-13, West Bengal hadachieved a total man days of about 20 crores which was 109% higher than thenational target. In 2013-14, the State was able to exceed its target once again.The West Bengal Government is committed to the MGNREGA program and could havemade giant strides in implementing the scheme had the state not been starved offunds. The Government must implement the scheme in its true spirit and notresort to the intensification of the scheme in a few blocks to the neglect ofothers.