Sonia concerned over shortcoming in MNREGA

New Delhi: National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday expressed concern over shortcomings in implementation of MNREGA scheme but put the onus of dealing with them on the state governments.

"I want to share some of my concerns with you. There are reports that its (MNREGA) funds are being spent on other works. Reports of forged job cards, fake muster rolls, fake names of labourers have come to light," she said.

"Complaints about jobs and goods which are there only on paper, buying of very low quality goods and late payment of wages have also been heard," Gandhi said at a function held here to mark five years of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

"Despite appointment of district level officers, the present system of hearing and solving complaints of the people is not fully satisfactory. The basic facilities at the work place which should be there also cannot be called satisfactory. Due to this as many women as should be expected to work, do not," Gandhi said.

However, she sought to put the responsibility of dealing with these lacunaes on the state governments.

"These are shortcomings which state governments should look into and take strict and prompt action to solve them," Gandhi said.

The UPA chairperson also emphasised on the need for further strengthening social audit and suggested that the help of women Self-Help Groups and NGOs can be taken in this regard.

Hailing MNREGA as a scheme which has given a new direction to empowering the rural poor, Gandhi said, "For the unemployed and semi-employed households- especially of the dalits and tribals communities- this is the lifeline and is being considered a basis of social security."

Gandhi also expressed happiness that "half of the beneficiaries (of MNREGA) are women".

"MNREGA has helped in preventing migration to cities.

The rural post offices and banks have not a new encouragement by keeping accounts of this scheme. Labourers working in fields are getting more wages now," she said.