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Complete rural electrification by 2019, hike in MNREGA fund: Jaitley

New Delhi, Feb 1: From poverty free Panchayats to 100 per cent electrification of villages by May 2019 and majorly hiking the MNREGA fund, Union Fince Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday focused on rural India. In his Budget speech, Jaitley said that 100 per cent electrification of villages will be achieved by May 1, 2019. The government has allocated Rs 4,843 crore for electrification in fincial year 2017-18.

The Fince Minister also announced 24 per cent hike for Rural Agricultural and allied sectors as compared to last year, allocating Rs 1,87,223 crore for fincial year 2017-18. Announcing to build one crore houses in rural areas in the next one year, Jaitley allocated Rs 23,000 crore for 2017-18 against Rs 15,000 crore allocated last year. Stating that over one crore households live under poverty, the government aims to make 50,000 Gram Panchayats “poverty free” in next year, he announced. Stating that 133 km of new rural-roads were paved every day in 2016-17 against 73 km per day during 2011-14, Jaitley dedicated Rs 27,000 crore for rural roads for fincial year 2017-18 against Rs 19,000 crore last year. “100 per cent targets for roads were achieved in the Left wing extremist areas during the last fincial year,” Jaitley said in Parliament. Speaking of Mahatma Gandhi tiol Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Jaitley informed that participation of women in the scheme has increased from 45 per cent to 55 per cent. The Fince Minister announced that budget for MNREGA has been increased to Rs 48,000 crore for 2017-18 from Rs 36,500 crore in 2016-17. Jaitley also announced that for better monitoring, geo-tagging of all MGNREGA assets is being done and space technology will be used for better transparency. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita