New Delhi, Aug 5: Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh has said that the delay in the payment of wages to workers is the biggest problem facing the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
Addressing a Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting on MGNREGA attached to his Ministry here last evening, Ramesh said, complaints have come mainly from states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, where wages were not paid in some areas ranging from nine months to a year.
He further said, flexibility in the guidelines, special focus in naxal-infested areas and skill development programmes will be the three priority areas in future implementation of the rural job scheme.
He said, widespread consultations including with the Chief Ministers of the States are on and soon the new guidelines will be issued. He said, though the Act will not be changed as of now, but the new guidelines will be simplified.
Dwelling on the issues of transparency, Ramesh apprised the members of the new initiatives like strengthening of the audit mechanism, effective deployment of dedicated staff, more coverage of banks and post offices and the lab-to-land initiative of the Ministry.
During the meeting, the members raised the issues like fake job cards and muster rolls in some of the states, lesser mandays of work allocated than the mandatory 100 days work and enhancement of minimum wages to the workers.
The members cutting across all political parties expressed concern over the audit mechanism and called for effective Central Monitoring of the Scheme.
To address the problem of wage disbursal, the members mainly from the hilly states and naxal affected areas underlined the need for mobile banking system.
Ramesh further appreciated the suggestions of the members and assured them that their views will be accommodated in framing the new guidelines to be rolled out soon. (ANI)