Prime Minister Narendra Modi took clear shot at the Opposition Congress today over one of its flagship schemes for rural employment, vowing, "I will ensure MNREGA is never discontinued. It is proof of your failings. After so many years of being in power, all you were able to deliver is for a poor man to dig ditches a few days a month," said the premier in Parliament today.
Mr Modi said he will ensure that the scheme is fortified. "You will give me credit for this at least – that I have some rajneetik sudhbudh (political acumen)," he said. "This is why MNREGA will stay." Sonia Gandhi, the Congress president, looked on stoically.
MNREGA or the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act promises unskilled manual work to every adult for at least 100 days in rural parts of the country. It was introduced in 2006 and heralded by the Congress as a landmark reform. Last year, Mr Modi and the BJP decimated the Congress-led coalition government in the national election.