You are here: Home » Economy & Policy » News
Business Standard

PM: NREGA could usher in second green revolution

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The sixth anniversary of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) saw the government promising reforms in the scheme, which has been criticised for delays in wage payments and depleting farm labour.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the scheme could usher in a second green revolution through land development and irrigation facilities. He was, however, silent on demands to extend the scheme to mainstream agricultural activities.

“We desire that small farmers and poor families in particular benefit from this scheme. Hence, we have recently decided works related to irrigation, farming and land development can be done on land belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled tribes and people below the poverty line,” he said. referring to a decision taken two years ago. He said the building of playgrounds and toilets in anganwadis and schools was allowed under the NREGA, and attributed the poor demand for work under the Act in states like Rajasthan to a good harvest in those states. He was, however, silent on criticism by industry bodies and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar that the scheme had raised wages and led to labour shortage.(Click here for SCHEME AT WORK)

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said in a fortnight, he would unveil a reform plan, which would revise the list of works under the scheme to facilitate many farming-related activities. He added many states, especially those in Naxal-affected areas, had demanded changes in the ratio of wages and materials to 50:50 to facilitate the construction of granaries.

A committee, led by Planning Commission member Mihir Shah, had recommended limited and conditional use of the NREGA for farming. These recommendations would be released this month, Ramesh said.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi said reforms in public health could also be introduced through the scheme, which had the potential to develop natural resources. Both Singh and Sonia Gandhi expressed said it should be ensured that wages were paid to all workers under the scheme within 15 days.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Fri, February 03 2012. 00:06 IST