Jammu: Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Ali Mohmmad Sagar announced that wages given to labourers under MNERGA scheme would be increased to Rs 150 from Rs 121.

Briefing on MNERGA wage scheme in the State Assembly, he said that Rs 121 is paid by the Central Government, but the state government has decided to contribute Rs 29 on its part to hike the wage limit to Rs 150. For the next fiscal year, he said, the state government has decided to make a provision of Rs 1455 crore to pay the wage under MNERGA scheme.

Giving information on Panchayati Polls, Sagar said that for the first time, there will be a three-tier Panchayati polls on a non-party basis. For this purpose a separate Finance Commission and Election Commission will be set up. A bill in this regard will be passed in the current session. And to maintain a complete transparency Ombudsmen would also be deputed at the district level, he added.

While responding to debate on the allocations for the departments under him, he said that for the first time Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has asked all the MLAs to prepare welfare scheme for different regions and have also included them for their implementation.

Further, discussing the Panchayat elections, he said the Panchayati Raj Act 1989 has strengthened the Panchayat Raj system at the lowest strata of society. The government will also deliberate over the suggestions of the Cabinet sub-committees constituted on the basis of 73rd and 74th Amendments, he said, adding that for panchayats a separate finance commission and election commission would be formed.

A separate bill in this regard would be brought in the current session, the minister said, while assuring the members that the reservation for women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes would also be ensured in panchayats.

(JPN/ Bureau)