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MNREGA man-days to be increased: Rural development minister

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Amritsar: Farmers busy working in their fields on a hot day on the outskirts of Amritsar on June 8, 2015. (Photo: IANS)

 

Chandigarh:Union Rural Development Minister Birender Singh on Friday said the central government would increase the man-days under MNREGA from 100 to 150 in drought-hit areas, in view of the forecast of 14 percent less monsoon this season.

Talking to reporters here, Singh said there was a provision to appoint an ombudsman for MGNREGA to look into issues of public dealing.

“Also, the Comptroller and Auditor General has operationalised the social audit mechanism,” he said.

Singh said there was no question of changing the name of the previous government’s flagship program Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).

“Compared to the previous budget allocation which was never more than Rs.34,000 crore, the present government has increased it to Rs.40,000 crore.”

He said there was budgetary ratio of 60:40 between labor and assets, which has been maintained by the present government.

On the central government’s land acquisition ordinance, the union minister said the government would not acquire an inch of land on behalf of private sector, but would acquire land for infrastructural development like roads, water works, railways and defense installations.

He clarified that when 18 states, including the opposition Congress-ruled states, were of the view that the land could not be acquired for development projects without amendment, only then was the ordinance referred to the joint parliamentary committee.

He said that any amendment in the ordinance made by the government would be in favor of the farming community.

On the steps taken for skill development of youth, the minister said 12 lakh youth would be imparted training in three years.

The government would bear the entire expenditure of their training as well as board and lodging. He said that 70 per cent of the trainees would have assured employment.

Singh said 679 MPs from both houses of parliament have given their consent to adopt villages in their constituencies and now project reports would be finalised by June 30. 

Development works would commence from the next month.

He said the target till 2016 was to let each MP adopt one village so as to make it a model village, but the target would be further enhanced and in the next five years, whereby each MP would adopt three villages.

He also said that a target has been fixed to supply piped water to 90 percent of the population by 2022.

(IANS)

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Women Turn into Well Diggers in Drought Hit Kerala Villages

Over 300 women in Palakkad district started digging wells to find a solution to the acute water scarcity in the drought-hit villages of Kerala

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Drought
Drought in Kerala 2017 drinking water supply. Wikimedia

Kerala, July 13, 2017: The dearth of water in the hamlet of Kerala has turned women into well diggers. It is estimated that over 300 women in Palakkad district of Kerala have started digging wells to find a solution to the acute water scarcity in the drought-hit villages of Kerala.

When the first signs of drought in Kerela appeared, the women in the area made things easier when they began digging the wells with spades and shovels in October 2016.

None of the women had an experience of digging well in the past but the unfamiliarity with work was never a predicament in their way. Radha, a well digger was employed under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) for the past four years now.

“We never had any experience of digging wells. But our collective spirit helped us learn the trick easily. Now we have warmed up to it and most of us get into 80-feet deep without any fear,” said K Radha reportedly to HT.

ALSO READ: Sweet Paradox: India’s Drought-Stricken Farmers plant the Thirstiest Crop ‘Sugarcane’ 

The president of Pookkottukavu panchayat, K Jayadevan, concludes that women dig wells with the same perfection as that of their professional male counterparts. 

Jayadevan told PTI, “The first well, dug by a group of women, under the scheme looked like a pit. But, as they took up more wells, they have perfected. The latest ones, made by them, are really structural marvels. This transition is the proof of empowerment attained by these village women.”

-Prepared by a Staff writer at Newsgram

 

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