Unease in Maha Congress over Jairam`s suggestion
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Last Updated: Sunday, October 30, 2011, 13:45
Mumbai: Unease prevails in the Maharashtra Congress in the wake of a suggestion made by Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh to shift the responsibility of implementation of the UPA government's flagship scheme NREGA from the EGS Department to Rural Development department.

Ramesh in a missive to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan reported to have made the suggestion close on the heels of the union minister alleging rampant corruption in implementation of MGNREGA in Uttar Pradesh.

In the Democratic Front government of Maharashtra, Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) portfolio is held by Nitin Raut of Congress while NCP leader Jayant Patil handles the Rural Development department.

With a series of elections to local bodies in the state slated over the next few months, Congress is in no mood to let go of the crucial portfolio.

Chavan recently ruled out the possibility of handing over the responsibility of implementing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) to any other department other than the EGS department.

He had said the state was yet to receive the Centre's share of Rs 2,000 crore for implementation of the NREGS in the state.

"There is some misunderstanding. Maharashtra is a pioneer in implementation of EGS and we have been having a separate department for EGS much before the NREGA came into force. This is unlike other states where the Central government's EGS is being implemented through the rural development department," Raut said.

MPCC president Manikrao Thakre too backed this assertion.

"Ramesh must have made the suggestion based on the situation in other states, where EGS is handled by the rural development department. However, in Maharashtra, the portfolios have been allocated as per the agreement between Congress and NCP and leaders of both the parties will have to sit together to effect changes, if any," Thakre said.

Even the chief minister had observed on earlier occasions that there needs to be streamlining of portfolios between the ruling alliance partners for administrative reasons, he said.

When asked if he supported Ramesh's suggestion, Thakre replied, "There is no question of supporting or otherwise.

Both the parties have decided on the portfolio allocation and any change, whether in EGS or other portfolios, would have to be discussed in a meeting between senior leaders of the two parties."


First Published: Sunday, October 30, 2011, 13:45

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