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
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
"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
"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