MGNREGA completes 10 years, future focus on simplifying procedures

New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) As the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme completes 10 years of implementation on Tuesday, the focus will now be on simplification of procedures, the rural development ministry said.

The scheme, aimed at generating employment in rural areas, was first conceived and implemented during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance rule in 2006.

A ministry statement said on Monday that over the last 10 years, sustainable assets have been created, linked to conservation of natural resources and overall development of village panchayats.

More than 65 percent of work taken up under the scheme was linked to agriculture and allied activities, the ministry said.

The government incurred approximately Rs.3.13 lakh crore on the scheme since its inception. Out of this, 71 percent was spent on payment of wages to workers, it said.

The percentage of Scheduled Caste workers has consistently been about 20 percent while Scheduled Tribes workers were about 17 percent.

A total of 1,980.01 crore man-days were generated, with women’s share in the workdays steadily increasing much above the statutory minimum of 33 percent, the statement said.

“The focus for the coming years will be on simplification and strengthening of procedures for the implementation of MGNREGA as an employment guarantee. A master circular will be issued today (Monday) which consolidates all key instructions from the central government on the implementation of the Act,” the statement added.

“Beyond this, states are encouraged to innovate with flexibility,” it added.

According to officials, there will be “a renewed focus on sustainable individual assets to benefit the poor and vulnerable households”.

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