Nagaland delegation attends 9th MGNREGA Divas
DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 5
[dropcap]A[/dropcap] 17 member Nagaland state delegation comprising of officials of Rural Development and VDB secretaries led Imtiangshi, Project Director, DRDA Dimapur attended the Ninth Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Divas held at Vigyan Bhawan, Plenary Hall, New Delhi on February 2.
Addressing the occasion Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said that MGNREGA wage rate will be enhanced from 1st of April this year. He said, notification in this regard will be placed before Parliament in the coming session scheduled to begin this week. The Minister said, MGNREGA wage rate has already been linked to Consumer Price Index and the yearly revision follows from it. Referring to various suggestions received from the States, Ramesh said, there is need for parity in the MGNREGA wage rate and the Minimum Wage, where the former is lower and there are 14 such states like Bihar Jharkhand, West Bengal and Rajasthan where rural job wage is lower than minimum wage. He said to implement this MGNREGA Act needs to be amended and an Expert Committee is looking into the matter.
He exhorted the officials to motivate and help the small and marginal farmers to undertake land leveling and irrigation schemes on their land under MGNREGA and lamented that only 10 percent farmers have so far benefitted from this provision. He also called upon officials to bring MGNREGA workers under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana as only 15 to 20 percent such workers are at present covered under the scheme. Ramesh said that 2014-15 should be celebrated as Convergence Year for MGNREGA.
Speaking on the occasion Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain Aditya said that MGNREGA has brought about a revolution in the rural India and stopped the distress migration from rural to urban areas. He said in the world’s biggest ever rural job scheme, this year more than 3crore 80 lakh families got benefitted so far. Jain said that fighting corruption in its implementation is a big challenge, but this is the responsibility of the State Governments.
In his address, the Minister of State for Rural Development Lal Chand Kataria said, MGNREGA has led to creation of durable assets, besides recharging ground water through watershed schemes thus helping in expansion of irrigated land. He said, for its more effective implementation, the Ministry of Rural Development has started a process of convergence among different departments and Ministries.
Mihir Shah, member Planning Commission said that in the last three to four years MGNREGA has been made more flexible and about 30 new works were added as per state specifications. He said, social audit has checked corruption to a large extent and with full implementation of Direct Benefits Transfer, the role of middlemen will be abolished.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Rural Development L.C. Goyal said that Ministry is on the verge of taking new initiatives for the rural job scheme, which has already provided dignity and self respect to women in rural areas. He said, MGNREGA has deepened the democratic process by strengthening Gram Panchayats.
Altogether 47 Awards were distributed on the occasion for best initiatives and innovations in the Job Scheme.