CMs discuss ways to align farm policies with MGNREGA

A panel of chief ministers got cracking on Thursday to explore ways to align works under the rural jobs scheme MGNREGA with agriculture to achieve the goal of doubling farmers' income by 2022.

The panel, chaired by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, has identified five areas – reducing input costs, increasing production, improving market infrastructure to provide better prices for farm produce and helping farmers after natural disasters – where MGNREGA could be used to boost farmers' income.

Chouhan and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath attended the meeting at the NITI Aayog office here, while Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani joined the deliberations through video conferencing.

Chouhan said the chief ministers of West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh – Mamata Banerjee and N Chandrababu Naidu respectively, had given their suggestions in writing.

At the meeting, Adityanath suggested use of MGNREGA funds to supplement labour costs in agriculture and fencing of farm land to protect it from wild animals.

Chouhan said suggestions were also made for using MGNREGA funds to encourage diversification in agriculture to help promote allied activities to boost farm income, while keeping the focus on asset creation.

The chief ministers decided to hold five regional workshops at Patna, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Guwahati and New Delhi to elicit views of experts, farmers and farmers' representatives and other stakeholders, along with State Governments.

Next meeting 

An official statement said that the regional workshops would be completed before August 15.

The next meeting of the sub-group of chief ministers will be held on August 31.

The decision to constitute a sub-group of chief ministers was taken at the meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog last month.

The sub-group has been tasked with coordinating policies of the agriculture sector and MGNREGA, particularly in pre-sowing and post-harvest activities on farmers’ fields.

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CMs discuss ways to align farm policies with MGNREGA

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