New Delhi: Apparently favouring a reform in MNREGA to provide skilled jobs, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has highlighted shortcomings, including payment to works which are unproductive, in the UPA`s flagship rural job scheme.
In an interview to Yuvadesh, the on-line magazine of Indian Youth Congress, Ramesh admitted that the target to provide 100 days jobs to the unemployed people in the villages has been met only in eight per cent of total MNREGS workers, who were provided jobs last year.
Ramesh also hinted that the government will take a look on whether to increase the number of workdays or decrease it.
"How many ditches will you dig? How much labour work you can do? How many trees you will plant? There is a limit to creation of community asset as well. We have to see whether there is a need to increase the work days or reduce them. We will have to see what is to be increased or what is to be reduced," Ramesh said.
The Union Minister said that the demand for employment comes down in the rainy season and goes up during drought.
He said that out of the five crore people, who got employment under MNREGS in 2011-12, only 8 per cent worked for 100 days.
"We do not accept you call only digging a ditch and taking out soil as employment. Even when throw back the soil into the ditch, it is referred to as employment. We do not need such employment. We need skilled employment so that we can make people trained," Ramesh said.
He said providing skilled training and skilled employment is the biggest challenge of the government.
"We can give wages. MNREGS can give wages but not skilled employment. We have to find some other options to provide skilled employment," Ramesh said.