New Delhi: The government is not trying to curtail MNREGA and the number of blocks under the act have not been reduced, Rural Development Minister Birender Singh told parliament Thursday.
The minister was responding to a calling attention motion in the Rajya Sabha by Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja and others, criticising the move of the government to introduce changes in the rural employment scheme by reducing the wage component of the fund allocation and restricting the areas of work.
Some members also questioned if the number of blocks under the scheme have been reduced to 2,500.
"There are 2,500 blocks... extensive exercise was done to see how these blocks can pick up... That does not mean the scheme will be stopped in other 4,000 blocks," Birender Singh said.
"The scheme continues in entire 6,500 blocks," said the minister.
He said that the allocations for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) have not been reduced either.
"The budget provision in 2013-14 was Rs.33,000 crores. In the current financial year the budget provision is Rs.34,000 crore. The demand for funds in MNREGA was Rs.34,000 crore... We have already made a payment of Rs.23,000 crore to different states," he said.
The minister said convergence of MNREGA with other schemes is being encouraged to promote asset creation.
"It has been recently notified that at least 60 percent of the works to be taken up in a district in terms of cost shall be for the creation of productive assets directly linked to agriculture or allied activities through development of land, water and trees," he said.
"The continuous endeavour of the government is to further streamline and improve implementation of the programme," he said.