New Delhi: In what could be an absolute embarrassment for the UPA government, at a time when the Supreme Court was pronouncing its verdict on the country’s biggest 2G spectrum scam, Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were pointing guns on the rival parties over corruption in MNREGS.

Addressing an event to mark five years of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the Prime Minister on Thursday said that the potential of the UPA flagship scheme that guarantees 100 days of rural employment in a year has not been fully realised.

“This is the only scheme where the government is expending the highest amount of Rs 40,000 crore yearly. But desired results have not been achieved due to underlying corruption and irregularities,” the Prime Minister said.

Echoing the similar views, Gandhi said, “There are many challenges in implementation of MNREGS. The biggest worry is delayed wage payment to workers and stressed that complaints of corruption cannot be ignored in a bid to accomplish the set results.”

Expressing serious concerns over the irregularities growing in the scheme at the state level, she said, “Huge amount of irregularities through fake employment card and bogus attendance records have come into light. This technique is becoming the easiest mode to exploit public money.”

Gandhi said she was happy that the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) will look into the expenditure under the scheme.

She also showed disappointment towards the low level of participation of women in the rural job scheme. 

“Due to lack of proper women centric facilities in the scheme, their participation is very low,” she added.

Talking on the similar lines, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said, “Women’s participation is very low as compared to the desired one. I am hopeful that the work on expansion of the scheme will be completed within a month. Rural Development Ministry along with National Advisory Council has identified several loopholes that need to be urgently addressed and we are likely to announce the measures by next month.”

He further said that the government is mulling over introducing irrigation, gardening and cultivation in the MNREGS.

(JPN/ Bureau)