New Delhi, Sept. 9: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today stepped up the allocation for primary education and unveiled a truncated employment guarantee scheme, drawing nods of approval from a restive Left.
The amount for primary education has gone up by two thirds of what was set aside in the budget.
The employment scheme, which will ensure food coupons against work in 150 of the poorest districts of the country, will not have a legal guarantee as promised earlier. Such an assurance would have made the government vulnerable to legal action by anyone denied work in the targeted areas.
The scheme is expected to give one able-bodied person in every family work for at least 100 days.
The original allocation for social schemes ' Rs 10,000 crore ' has been stepped up to Rs 12,000 crore in line with an earlier assurance.
The announcements were made after Singh told the new Planning Commission's first full meeting that the time has come to 'take reforms to the 'neglected' sections.
The Left, which had aired its ire over the plan panel's bid to include World Bank economists in some committees, welcomed today's proposals. Nilotpal Basu of the CPM said: 'These are steps in the right direction. But they have to bring the employment scheme for the whole country with eventual legal guarantees.'
The Prime Minister also indirectly touched upon the plan panel controversy through a statement that appeared to defend the commission. He complimented the panel for starting 'in right earnest' a mid-term appraisal, 'including extensive consultations with central ministries, state governments and outside experts'.