Extra MGNREGA funds expose Modi’s claim that it was a living monument to poverty: Congress

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Sunday allocated an additional Rs 40,000 crore to MGNREGA, as part of the Rs 20 lakh crore Covid-19 economic relief package.

Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman at the press conference Sunday | ThePrint Photo | Praveen Jain

Lucknow: With the Centre sanctioning additional funds for job creation under the MGNREGA, the UP Congress on Sunday said the BJP has been exposed about its claim regarding the scheme, once dubbed as a ‘living monument’ of poverty by PM Narendra Modi.

If the scheme was an epitome of corruption’, then why is it being implemented now and additional funds allocated, UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Kumar asked referring to a PM’s statement about the scheme in Parliament in 2015.

“Who was telling lies, and who was misleading the country? It is the schemes envisaged by the Congress on which the country is functioning today,” Kumar said, claiming that the Congress has always been contributing to nation building.

The BJP has been “effectively exposed”, he said.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Centre on Sunday allocated additional Rs 40,000 crore under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme as part of the 20 lakh crore economic stimulus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken potshots at the Congress in the Lok Sabha while referring to corruption in the scheme and coal block allocations.

The prime minister had said, “Do you think, I will put an end to the scheme. My political wisdom does not allow me to do it. This is a living monument of your failure to tackle poverty in 60 years.

With song, dance and drum beat, I will continue with the scheme, he had said.

The Congress leader also took a dig at the UP government on Sunday, saying the scheme once flayed by the PM is now needed for job creation in the state.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on May 12 had asked for the creation of 50 lakh jobs per day under the MGNREGS recently, more than double the current numbers.

The mandate of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household, whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

Adityanath had said that in view of the coronavirus outbreak, stranded workers are returning to the state, hence, jobs in large numbers are needed.

Countering the Congress attack, UP BJP media co-convenor Navin Srivastava said, “Schemes are made by the governments, and after periodic reviews, the schemes either continue or are scrapped off. The BJP government has strengthened the MGNREGA. We have also increased for the workers.

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