Talking tough, new Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde today said a punishable provision will be added to MNREGA for delay in payment to rural job seekers and asked state governments to take action against officers who are responsible for it.
He made it clear that there would be zero tolerance to corruption and timely payment of MNREGA wages are the twin mantras on which he will work upon in the coming days.
Munde, who held a review meeting with officials on various ministerial programmes, said steps would be taken to ensure that payment for the poor is done on time.
An official release quoting the minister said that "a punishable provision will be added to MNREGA for delay in payment to rural job seekers".
Later, talking to PTI, Munde said, "I asked the officials to get the information from the states where disbursement of MNREGA payment is delayed.
"I want the monthly monitoring of the payment system.
Then we can understand whether payment has been done or not.
... I asked the state governments to take actions on such officers who are not doing the duty," he said.
When asked about complaints of corruption in MNREGA, Munde said, "I don't tolerate any corruption... I have not studied all these things. But in future corruption will not be tolerated."
He also indicated that he will soon convene a meeting of state rural development ministers to discuss the issues in detail.
The previous government had also expressed concern over delay in payment of wages to workers under MNREGA. Munde's predecessor Jairam Ramesh had asked state governments to clear the backlog immediately.
Munde said the rural job scheme will be utilised for all round development of villages and both can go hand in hand.
On the issue of Indira Aawas Yojana, he said that there is a need for adding new categories to the list of beneficiaries due to out-migration of labourers and also underlined that nomadic tribes could be another category.
Talking on Land Acquisition Act, he emphasised that there will be no compromise on the compensation and rehabilitation aspects of the Act.
Denying the charge that the new Land Act is against industrialisation, Munde said that if shortcomings any will be rectified for fast execution of projects by tweaking the rules.