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Home / India News / Govt leverages MGNREGS to strengthen rural infrastructure

Govt leverages MGNREGS to strengthen rural infrastructure

Just two types of activities—construction (on individual land) and sanitation works—are earmarked for 69% of the total work under MGNREGS for this financial year, government data has shown.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2020 04:58 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The construction activities on  individual land are mostly for building houses for the poor under PMAY(G).
The construction activities on individual land are mostly for building houses for the poor under PMAY(G). (Bloomberg photo)

The sharp focus on creating individual assets in MGNREGS over the years has presented the government an opportunity to leverage the flagship job scheme in this pandemic when millions of migrant labourers are stuck at home.

Just two types of activities—construction (on individual land) and sanitation works—are earmarked for 69% of the total work under MGNREGS for this financial year, government data has shown.

“These activities”, according to a rural ministry official, “perfectly suits us to allot work to large number of workers and meet a demand surge as constructing a house or a toilet requires hardly one to three workers.”

The construction activities on individual land are mostly for building houses for the poor under PMAY(G). MGNREGS beneficiaries can work for up to 90 days to build a house and as a part of the Swachh Bharat programme, there is a boom in construction of toilets and waste management in rural India.

As per the latest data on work status for FY20-21, 50% of the work under MGNREGS is for construction of individual properties and 19% are sanitation-related. There is also heavy demand for water conservation and renovation of traditional water bodies. The Union rural development ministry wants to complete 4.8 million houses in this year.

Last week, union rural development and agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar met his state counterparts through a video conference to discuss how to scale up key flagship schemes such as MGNREGS, the rural housing scheme, rural roads programme and the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).

Tomar told the states that the resources should be used to “strengthen rural infrastructure, create employment in rural areas and facilitate diversification of rural livelihoods.”

The government has already released around ₹36,000 Crore to the States/UTs in the current financial year, including ₹ 33,300 Crore under MGNREGS to quickly pay all dues and help states start new work in this financial year.

Former rural development secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra pointed out that the government needs to step up its activities to maximise the MGNREGS potentials. “There are 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in India. Work couldn’t have started in all GPs due to Covid restrictions and containment zones.”

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