Initiating a debate in the Lok Sabha, Sankar Prasad Datta (CPI-M) said the BJP government was trying to dilute the rural job scheme and demanded that its scope be expanded to include more districts.
"I will say that the central government is not interested in running the scheme," he said.
The scheme has been a boon for states like Tripura, he said, adding that it provided jobs to poor people and the northeastern state was first among all states in its efficient execution.
The Narendra Modi government claims to work for the poor and it should increase financial allocation under the scheme, Datta said, citing figures to claim that allotment of money to it has instead been going down.
Countering him, Hukumdev Narayan Yadav (BJP) said the scheme was anti-farmer and recalled that all farmers associations had opposed it in their comments before a parliamentary committee on agriculture headed by then CPI(M) MP Basudeb Acharia in the last Lok Sabha.
"When planning commission can be given a makeover, then why not MNREGA. Is it a avatar of God that cannot be touched?," he said, urging the government to review all schemes launched by previous Congress governments.
These schemes were used for swindling public money and keep names of a family in public mind, he said in a dig at Gandhi family.
MNREGA would have served better if the money allocated to it had been used for a particular work like building toilets in villages, Yadav said.
K H Muniyappa (Congress) said the scheme has benefited the poor immensely and urged the government to strengthen it further.
V Elumalai (AIADMK) said there are many problems at the ground level with the scheme's implementation and called for bringing the urban poor under its ambit.
The number of working days under it should be increased to 200, he said.

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