MGNREGS bringing graft into panchayat polls, says SP member

New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) A Samajwadi Party parliamentarian on Tuesday said that corruption has crept into the panchayat elections due to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

“MGNREGA has made panchayat elections expensive. Corruption has come into the system… it should be withdrawn,” Naresh Agrawal said in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Participating in discussion on the 2016-17 general budget in the upper house, the Samajwadi Party member said that candidates had begun to spend huge amounts of money to become village pradhans, knowing well that lots of money would come their way in the name of the scheme.

He also criticised the Centre for presenting what he said was an “anti-poor and anti-farmer budget”.

“The government is saying this is a farmer-friendly budget. I want to ask what is it that you have given to them,” Agrawal said.

The SP leader urged the Narendra Modi government to give the farmers the right to decide the price of their farm produce, and added that farmers will not get anything from the crop insurance policy.

“The insurance companies are being given money and not the farmers through the said policy,” Agrawal said.

If the government was so pro-farmers and wished to do something for them, it should ensure loan at lowest interest on easy instalments, the parliamentarian said.

Agrawal also expressed concern over population increase in the country and said the government should do something about it.

“Poverty is the biggest curse for any country. If we don’t come up with a policy to contain our population, it will become a problem for the country,” he said.

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