Lok Satta

Monday, 16 June 2014 11:26

Widen rural jobs scheme to cover Agriculture sector: Loksatta

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The Loksatta Party today welcomed the proposed overhaul of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme by the Union Rural Development Ministry.

The focus on creation of durable assets and allocation of a higher proportion of funds towards materials are commendable, said Telangana Loksatta Party Convener Bandaru Ramamohan Rao and Co-convener V. Vijayender Reddy in a media statement. They suggested that the scheme’s scope be widened to cover the agricultural sector too considering the steep increase in costs of production.

The two leaders recalled that united Andhra Pradesh was the biggest beneficiary in terms of allocation of funds under the scheme. Yet, the funds went down the drain as they had not been utilized to create durable assets or to improve the groundwater table in upland areas of the State, despite forceful pleadings by the Loksatta both in the Assembly and outside.

The newly formed Governments in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh should exert pressure on the Union Government to bring agriculture too under the purview of the scheme.

The scheme’s objective to provide employment to workers in the countryside should not be diluted by extending its coverage even to the skilled. Unemployed youth should definitely be provided opportunities to improve their skills and gain employment by focusing on improvement of infrastructure and revival of the manufacturing sector, the Loksatta leaders said. India has to create employment opportunities to at least one crore of youth every year, they added.