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Rajya Sabha nod for rural job Bill

Special Correspondent

Manmohan intervenes during debate


  • 16 of the Standing Committee recommendations incorporated
  • Village panchayats to play a pivotal role
  • Centre to provide financial assistance

    NEW DELHI: Parliament on Wednesday gave its nod to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Bill, 2005 that seeks to provide 100 days of assured employment in a year to every rural household in 200 districts.

    The Rajya Sabha passed the legislation after a six-hour debate that witnessed intervention by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Lok Sabha passed the Bill on Tuesday after a marathon debate spread over three days.

    Recommendations incorporated

    Replying to the debate, Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said that 16 of the recommendations of the Standing Committee had been fully incorporated in the Bill. He assured the members that enough safeguards had been introduced in the Bill at several levels from village panchayat to zila parishad.

    Village panchayats would play a pivotal role in the implementation of the National Employment Guarantee Scheme and money would not be a constraint in accomplishing the commitments made by the UPA Government in this regard.

    The Government was committed to providing 100 days of employment to every rural household instead of only to "poor" families as suggested earlier.

    Reservation for women

    Mr. Prasad said that initially the scheme would be implemented in 150 districts across the country, which would be extended to 200 districts. One-third of the proposed jobs would be reserved for women.

    He criticised the opponents of the Bill, describing them as "anti-poor and anti-rural."

    The UPA Government would not indulge in political discrimination and was committed to social justice and eradication of poverty.

    The Centre has taken responsibility to providing financial assistance to the scheme and the States only had to implement it. Increasing the purchasing power of villagers was a must to boost industrial and agricultural production, which could be achieved through this Bill.

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