Hyderabad: Union Rural Development Minister
Jairam Ramesh on Sunday refuted the charge that NREGA had caused
labour shortage in agriculture and construction sectors,
terming it as a propaganda to discredit the scheme.
"The scheme has increased agricultural wages, reduced
distressed migration in some parts of the country and created
community assets particularly water conservation structures.
Of course, there is room for improvement," Ramesh said.
He said the charge that the scheme had caused labour
shortage in agriculture and construction sectors was part of a
propaganda to discredit the National Rural Employment
Under NREGA, every adult member of a rural family is paid
on an average Rs 120 per day for 100 days in a year.
Confederation of Real Estate Developers` Association of
India (CREDAI) had recently stated that real estate projects
were experiencing time and cost overruns due to shortage of
labour due to schemes like NREGA. Besides, there were also
reports stating that it was getting difficult to hire labour
"Many people are uncomfortable with increasing
agricultural wages. What can you do. If you want to reduce
poverty in the country, you will have to pay more. Only then,
people will live comfortably," Ramesh told reporters on the
sidelines of an international conference here.
He also ridiculed reports that crop holiday announced in
East Godavari district was due to NREGA and said the official
reports suggested other reasons.
"Our report is entirely contrary. I had asked for a
study to be made. A study has been made. NREGA has nothing to
do with crop holiday. The crop holiday is because of various
reasons like procurement price, fertiliser price, distribution
of seed, irrigation issue, Ramesh explained.
Meanwhile, responding to a query, the Rural Development
Minister said the Comptroller and Auditor General would soon
take up performance audit of NREGA in 12 states.