NAC seeks changes in rural job scheme

PMO decides to review the performance in states

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has decided to review the performance of MGNREGA in states on September 29. The  decision was taken in the wake of wide ranging recommendations by Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC). It seeks to revamp the scheme in such a way that it should lead to integrate natural resources — land, water and forest —  to the livelihood of the rural people.

The NAC has recommended changes in the implementation process and has suggested decentralisation up to the level of habitation. It has suggested to form a habitation level committee  to  make a five-year plan perspective for the development of natural resources within the boundaries of the habitation. The proposals include  sectoral plans to include fisheries, horticulture, soil fertility, trees-fodder development and irrigation.

The NAC has also suggested rain water harvesting, bringing the fallow lands into cultivation and development of land of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes  and marginal farmers. The resource generation plan will give priority  to SC, ST and BPL card holders. The HLC will have to submit its plans to gram panchayat to be included in the record.

There are plans to recruit barefoot professionals who will work as para-worker to assist the HLC in planning. This model of decentralisation will go upwardly to the block, district and state level.

The makeover is aimed at decentralisation of resource management leading to sustainable development of resources and capacity building in rural areas. This obviously implies involvement of civil society and its networking.

The recommendations include formation of National Mahatma Gandhi Rojgar Mission to mandate implementing MGNREGA and taking up national rural mission under the scheme.

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