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Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Sunday said Sunday that Jharkhand was not being discriminated against as far as development funds are concerned and it could more if it develops the capacity to spend the money properly.


‘There are allegations of discrimination with Jharkhand. Such allegation are wrong. The central rural development ministry is always ready to provide funds but the state government should have capacity to spend the funds,’ Ramesh told reporters here.


‘The rural development ministry spends Rs.1 lakh crore on different schemes and Jharkhand gets only Rs.1,000 to Rs.1,500 crore. If poverty is taken into consideration, then Jharkhand should get at least Rs.5,000 to Rs.6,000 per annum, said the minister, who was in the state to review the schemes of his ministry.


‘There should be proper monitoring of the expenditure. Under MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act), Jharkhand’s labour budget is only Rs.1,500 crore annum against Chhattisgarh’s labour budget of Rs.3,000 crore. We will provide funds of Rs.5,000 crore per annum if Jharkhand demands and it develops capacity to spend the money,’ he said.


He said there was a demand to include construction of playgrounds in each villages under MNREGA. ‘We will consider the demand and try to incorporate it.’


Ramesh said that for effective implementation of rural job guarantee scheme in Jharkhand, the state government had been asked to appoint a junior engineer and panchayat officer in each panchayat, for which the central government would bear 75 percent expenditure for the next 10 years.


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