Funds crunch forces Minister to appeal for more

Rural Development: As crunch hits pro-poor schemes, minister appeals for funds

Rural Development: As crunch hits pro-poor schemes, minister appeals for funds
Rural Development: As crunch hits pro-poor schemes, minister appeals for funds

Rural Development: As crunch hits pro-poor schemes, minister appeals for funds

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he Union rural development ministry manages the schemes meant for the rural poor which has been adversely impacted by funds crunch at the Centre.

The authority to the claim were given by delayed payments to workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) and Low interest in Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY)

In the second phase of the scheme from their respective constituencies only 29 of the 543 Lok Sabha members have nominated gram panchayats. Target villages were identified by only five of the 252 Rajya sabha members which is even worst case, according to records with rural development ministry.

Other schemes are also impacted by the Funds crunch. For building toilets at home, an appeal to commercial banks and private micro-investors to disburse money to people was made by Rural Development Minister Birender Singh, so that any shortfall in funds can be met from other sources.

“”There are people who are not below the poverty line, but still do not have toilets at their home. We have appealed to the companies and the NGOs to help fund toilets to make our villages free from open defecation,” Birender Singh told IANS.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he minister said that each below-poverty-line family was being given Rs.12,000 [$178.21] for building a toilet. But the need apparently is greater.

According to an official in the ministry, who did not wish to be named, the minister had also made an appeal to banks and private investors to fund some of the rural development schemes where the ministry was falling short of money. Corporate houses, too, are being approached, the source said.

Lack of funds was the primary reason behind the low interest in the village adoption scheme, the source said.

“I know the response is not up to the mark and I will be writing to the MPs for that. The major complaint of the MPs is that there should be additional funds which should be provided for the villages they have selected,” the minister said, adding that he did not see any scope for allocating additional money in this budget.

“But I will write to the finance ministry for some sort of matching grant which can be provided from our side,” he said.

He felt that additional funds may invoke interest of more members of parliament in the scheme. But a ministry source said that it would be difficult to raise more resources for the schemes.

“”Our ministry cannot allocate additional funds for the villages. State governments are not lending a helping hands either,” the source said.

For SAGY, where parliamentarians adopt gram panchayats, the prime minister and only eight ministers have made nominations. They include Ashok Gajapati (Andhra Pradesh), Ramvilas Paswan (Bihar), Jitendra Singh (Jammu & Kashmir), Sushma Swaraj (Madhya Pradesh), Bandaru Dattatreya (Telangana) and Babul Supriyo (West Bengal)

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]hree ministers hailing from the Rajya Sabha — Nirmala Sitharaman, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Thaawar Chand Gehlot — have also identified the villages to be developed under the second phase of SAGY.

As for MGNREGS, reports available with the ministry suggest that over 70 percent wages have not been paid on time to workers so far in 2015-16.

According to details available, 44.6 percent of the payments to workers were delayed between 15 to 30 days, 20.8 percent were delayed between 30 to 60 days, 4.3 percent were delayed for 60 to 90 days while 2.3 percent were delayed for more than 90 days.

“”We have allocated more than 95 percent of the money but it is the state governments who are dragging their feet causing delay in payments,” the ministry source said.

Though the Narendra Modi government had announced an increase in funding for MGNREGS, the hike does not find reflection on the ground.

About Funds Crunch

Here is an informative post

2. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 US Dollar = 67.33 Rupees.


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