Maximise benefits of rural jobs scheme : PM

New Delhi, Feb 2 (Calcutta Tube) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday called for better coordination between the government’s flagship rural jobs scheme and other matching welfare programmes to accelerate the development of rural areas.

Addressing the ‘Mahatma Gandhi NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) Sammelan’ here organised by the rural development ministry to mark four years of the employment programme, he said the government was endeavouring to improve the delivery mechanisms in rural areas.

‘There is need for better coordination between overlapping schemes to provide maximum benefit to rural areas,’ he said.

Manmohan Singh said the government planned to involve the private sector in training rural youth to prepare them for employment opportunities.

He said that success of states which had done well under the jobs scheme should be emulated, adding that the government was trying to reduce delays in making payments under the scheme.

Terming MGNREGA as one of the most important legislations, the prime minister said it had mitigated poverty and had enabled beneficiaries to earn their livelihood with self-respect.

He said he had been told by many chief ministers that the jobs scheme had helped the people in coping up with drought conditions last year.

He said the government wanted to ensure greater participation of the panchayats in implementation and monitoring of NREGA works.

Expressing satisfaction over the work done for water conservation under NREGA, he said the scheme had ensured sizeable participation of the weaker sections and women.

NREGA was launched from Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh in 2006 to guarantee every rural household at least 100 days of work during a financial year.

The programme now covers the entire country.

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