Over 5.69 crore households had sought employment under the MGNREGA scheme in 2016-17 and 5.12 crore of them were provided work, the government said on Monday. The figures were provided by Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha when members expressed concern over various aspects of the scheme including low wages and delay in payments.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh sought to know whether the households which had not been provided work were given unemployment allowance as per the provisions of the Act. Tomar said at times, people registered themselves for work but did not turn up later when called for and sought to assure the House that the rules were being followed.
Another Congress member Renuka Chowdhary asked what steps were being taken in cases where MGNREGA wages were not being paid on time, while referring to Telangana in this regard. Tomar said the Centre was providing adequate funds for the scheme. Of the Rs 48,000 crore, the Centre had already disbursed upto Rs 31,000 crore, he said while assuring that he would look into the matter relating to Telangana.
Responding to related queries, he said there had been an increase in the wages under MGNREGA over the years. He said the participation of women under the scheme was up to 56 per cent and of the weaker sections 40 per cent. He said that over one crore assets created under the scheme had been geo-tagged.
He said while those not having Aadhaar cards will not be barred from work under the scheme, but the unique identification number was being encouraged. Around nine crore Aadhaar cards have been linked, he said. He said that efforts were also being made to ensure that funds meant for MGNREGA are not diverted. He said that a clarification has been sought from West Bengal government regarding repair of water tanks etc under the scheme.