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Will restructure MGNREGA, implement land acquisition Act: Gopinath Munde

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-05-2014 PTI

New Delhi: Narendra Modi government will restructure United Progressive Alliance’s flagship programme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) by linking employment with development in rural areas and “rigorously” implementing the new land acquisition law.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Gopinath Munde, who took over as the minister for rural development on Tuesday, said that proper implementation of recently enacted land acquisition law and Modi’s key electoral plank that every household will be provided sanitation and drinking water will be his priority.

Munde, who is also the minister for panchayati raj and sanitation, said that the rural jobs scheme MGNREGA will be restructured to ensure development of villages and provide employment to rural poor.

“I like this scheme. This scheme is best for villages. Basically, people get employment,” the minister said about MGNREGA—an ambitious Act passed by the UPA-I aiming at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing 100 days of wage employment in a fiscal to a rural household.

Noting that he supported the scheme during a debate in Parliament, Munde, however, said there were “problems” in its implementation.

“Proper management was a problem, proper disbursement of money was a problem. I think the MGNREGA money should go to the development of villages and people should get employment.

“I want to link the programme with the progress of villages. Development of villages and employment will go together,” Munde said.

Asked about the land acquisition Act enacted by the UPA government, Munde said this was a “very good” legislation supported by the BJP in Parliament.

“Now this is my responsibility, this law should be implemented. I will do this rigorously. For last 20 years, people were demanding this new legislation,” he said. Asked about the industry’s concerns, he said, “The bill is passed. I am happy that implementation part has come to me.”

Speaking on sanitation and drinking water, a key concern raised by Modi and Munde’s predecessor Jairam Ramesh, the minister said budgetary allocation for them should be increased further.

“Present allocation is not enough. I will give a proper shape to sanitation programme. Toilets should be constructed in every rural house hold and public place as it is an issue involving the dignity of women,” he said.

The new minister said that development of 250 backward districts including 82 Naxal-affected ones would also be a priority.

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