Friday, April 23

Convergence helps Bengal top MGNREGS utilisation

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Bengal has again come up as a topper in convergence and livelihood implementation under the 100-day work scheme.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said in the assembly on Wednesday the state could overcome practical hurdles in MGNREGS through convergence of various schemes.

To a question, she said: “The Centre has imposed restrictions on the 100-day programme. Payment from the Centre is also delayed. Beneficiaries have to wait three months for wages. To overcome the difficulty, we have planned convergence of various departments — irrigation, forest, fisheries and Jal Dharo Jal Bharo — to engage job card-holders. For instance, for a scheme under the irrigation department, the government engages unskilled labourers enrolled under MGNREGS. The fisheries department is also a case in point. The department gives the fish seedlings for pisciculture while a fisherman enrolled under the MGNREGS rears the seedlings and ekes out a living.”

The CM has also proposed to include MGNREGS-enrolled women in various schemes. “Some of these women cook midday meals in schools and get money. But that is not enough. They can be engaged in plantation of saplings within the school premises so that they can get some more money,” the CM said.

An official said: “The panchayat department, undertaking work under a scheme such as irrigation and social forestry, gives the funds while MGNREGS provides the manpower. It could be the other way round as well. A scheme under MGNREGS needs technical expertise for implementation. The expertise comes from technical departments.”

Trinamool’s Sitalkuchi MLA Hiten Barman drew the panchayat minister’s attention during question hour, seeking government intervention in re-issuing job cards to those whose job cards have been deleted because they went to work at brick kilns and other places. “Job cards, once issued, can’t be deleted. I would request you take up the matter with the block development officer. This is a constitutional provision,” said panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee.

CPM MLAs Sujan Chakrabarty and Tanmoy Bhattacharya wanted the government to write to the Centre for increase of daily minimum wage under MGNREGS to Rs 350 and increase work tenure to 200 days. “Let all the parties write to the Centre, the government is on the job,” Mukherjee said.


Source: Times of India

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