Modi takes dig at Congress’ on MGNREGA

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New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took a dig at the Congress for poor implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the states.

Citing a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report of 2012, Modi said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government failed to get the scheme implemented to maximum effect in the poorest states.

“Kharge ji (leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge) said there is corruption in MGNREGA; I agree with him 1,000 percent. I don’t disagree with it,” the prime minister said while replying to the motion of thanks on the President for his Address to parliament.

The prime minister said the 2012 CAG report stated that the scheme was implemented better in states where the population of the poor was less.

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“But the states in which it was needed the most, the scheme was utilised the least. This means we could not target the poor through this scheme properly,” Modi said.

The CAG report also stated that even after seven years of its inception, there were five such states which did not even draft the rules of the scheme, he said.

“The sad part is that among the five, four are those states which sing praises of the scheme,” Modi added.

Modi said: “We are learning from this report to mend the drawbacks and we’ll try to ensure that the needy benefit from the scheme. Ours will be a targeted approach. We’ll ensure employment for all and proper audit of the scheme. It is our duty to make it perfect.”

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“No one will deny that if the Congress had worked for the poor in the past 60 years, the poor won’t still be facing problems,” he added.

Taking a dig at the opposition Congress, Modi said: “The Congress leaders must be thinking: Modiji delivering speeches during elections is a different thing. You want to remove poverty, but you don’t know who we are? We have sown the seeds of poverty so deep that you may get uprooted, but you won’t be able to uproot poverty from the country.”

“Indeed, the roots of poverty are so deep in our country that it has become a Herculean task for me to remove it. Had there been no poverty, we won’t have needed the MGNREGA scheme,” Modi added.

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