Joshi rejects Modi’s demand for probe into job scheme

New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) Rural Development Minister C.P. Joshi Tuesday rejected Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into alleged corruption in the central government’s flagship rural jobs scheme.

Joshi said it was for the states to address the problems in implementing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

Replying to a query during a function to release ‘Wasteland Atlas of India 2010’ here, Joshi said that MGNREGA was being implemented by state governments, which should address the problem faced as well.

Modi had made a demand for a JPC probe into alleged corruption in MGNREGA at the National Development Council meeting here last week.

Modi said the mid-term appraisal of the 11th plan had highlighted ‘corruption, malpractices and misuse’ of funds in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s rural job scheme.

The MGNREGA, enacted Aug 25, 2005, provides a legal guarantee for 100 days of employment in every financial year to adult members of a rural household willing to do public work-related, unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage of Rs.100 per day.

On the ‘Wasteland Atlas’, Joshi said the information it provided about areas that could be used for agriculture in the future was useful. He said with efforts of the government to put in place a Food Security Act, attention was being paid to increase the area under cultivation.

The Atlas delineates 23 categories of wastelands using three seasons. An estimated 14.91 percent of total geographical area of the country has been identified as wastelands based on mapping done in 2005-06.

Wasteland mapping is being done at the national level for the last two decades by the Indian Space Research Organisation.

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