New Delhi, July 14 (IBNS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said average wage per person-day has gone up by 81% since the inception of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA).
Speaking at the release of MGNREGA Sameeksha, Singh said: "The average wage per person-day has gone up by 81% since the Schemeís inception."
He, however, said the concurrent evaluation processes are not in good shape.
"I am surprised to here from Jairam (Ramesh, Union Rural Development Minister) that concurrent evaluation processes are not in good shape. When I was in the Planning Commission long ago I think we had started the programme of concurrent evaluation for a number of programmes of rural development.
"I donít no why they are languishing if they are at all languishing. But I would request Montek (Singh Ahluwalia, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman) apply his mind to making good this deficiency as well," said Singh.
"Even if statistics do not tell the whole truth, the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA story in numbers is a story worth telling. In 2010-11, nearly 5.50 crore families, or nearly one in four rural households, were provided over 250 crore person-days of work under the programme. This is a sharply higher figure than the 90 crore person days of work provided in the first year of the Scheme in 2006-07," said the PM.
Singh said the scheme scores high on inclusiveness.
"The share of Scheduled Cast/Scheduled Tribe families in the work has been 51 per cent and that of women 47 per cent. The average wage per person-day has gone up by 81% since the Schemeís inception. Wages are indexed to protect workers from the ravages of inflation," he said.
The PM said nearly 10 crore bank/post office accounts have been opened and around 80 per cent of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA payments are made through this innovative route, an unprecedented step in the direction of financial inclusion.
He said the Sameeksha shows how local initiatives are helping to tackle these issues.
"In Rajasthan, the main provisions of the Scheme are being displayed on the walls of Gram Panchayats. In Jharkhand, voluntary organizations have set up help centres to create awareness and provide hand holding services to beneficiaries. Similar voluntary initiatives could help Gram Sabhas as well," he said.
"I am encouraged to learn that in Andhra Pradesh data entry is in real time and pay orders for wage payments are generated online. This directly addresses the issue of delayed payments and should be replicated elsewhere," said Singh.
He said the section on gender empowerment is particularly heartening.
"One study concludes that a silent revolution is taking place among rural women due to the Scheme. Wage disparities are being reduced and women are coming out more in the public sphere to take up work and interact with banks, post offices and government officials. This has done wonders for their self-confidence and given them a greater say in financial matters of the household," he said.
"These are only a few of the many issues that the anthology throws up, whether related to management of funds and resources, convergence of the scheme with rural livelihoods or making the Act work in Left Wing Extremism affected districts," said Singh.