JOBS: Allocation for the scheme, which provides job on demand to the rural population, is Rs 16,000 crore. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, the flagship programme of the UPA government, which provides job on demand to the rural population, has been extended to all the 596 rural districts in the country with effect from April 1, 2008. The allocation made for the scheme with legislative backing is Rs 16,000 crore. For 2007-08, the allocation for the scheme implemented in 330 districts was Rs 12,000 crore. The finance minister assured that as the scheme was not an Act, the government would provide financial backing for it, no matter what the amount. But, according to the Ministry of Rural Development, till December 2007, the NREGA was able to spend only 60 per cent of the funds available. At the same time, the NREGA was able to provide more than 85 crore man-days of work to more than 25 million households in 2007-08. The finance minister also said that as long as the country experienced a growth rate of more than 8.5 per cent, it could create jobs required for all segments. For Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, a programme providing self-employment to the rural poor, an allocation of Rs 2,150 crore was made, up Rs 350 crore from Rs 1,800 crore provided in Budget 2007-08. While letting the individual ministries like labour and employment carry on with their own skill development programmes, the finance minister announced establishment of a non-profit corporation with the mission of imparting world-class skills for the emerging economy. The government will provide Rs 1,000 crore, while Rs 15,000 crore will be raised from other sources. The government has alloted Rs 750 crore for the upgrade of 300 ITIs next year. It intends to upgrade 1,396 out of the 1,896 government ITIs in public-private partnership by the end of the Eleventh Plan period, which will provide quality technicians to the industry.