New Delhi (Agencies): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday announced wages would be hiked under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to tackle inflation impact even as UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said it was time to introspect on the shortcomings of the rural jobs scheme.

'We have decided to hike the wages as per the rise in consumer price index. This will raise the wages by 17 to 30 percent,' Manmohan Singh said at a function to mark the fifth anniversary of the Mahamta Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

The gathering was also addressed by Sonia Gandhi who called for new direction.

The Prime Minister reminded everybody that the daily minimum wages of a worker in the scheme was Rs 65 when it began in 2006. 'Now it is Rs 100, which itself is a big rise,' he pointed out.

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi said it was time to introspect on the shortcomings of the scheme and acquire in new direction.

'The scheme has been a big success in creating employment for rural people, especially those belonging to weaker sections and women,' she said. 'However, there have been complaints of irregularities and corruption too.'

'It is an occasion to analyse the shortcomings in the implementation of the scheme, plan new directions and move forward,' she said.

Singh said a sizeable section of the beneficiaries of the NREGA were Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women. The scheme has been able to bring in advances to rural economy, he added.

Ground level officials of NREGA and other rural development schemes were awarded prizes at the function. Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and ministers of state Pradeep Jain, Sisir Adhikari and Agatha Sangma were among those who attended the function.