Thiruvananthapuram: Congress-led UDF government in Kerala on Thursday urged the Centre to give freedom to states to make changes in the schemes and schedules under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in accordance with state-specific circumstances and requirements.
Talking to reporters here, state Rural Development Minister K C Jospeh, while seeking freedom for fixing schedules, said cattle rearing, coir and khadi sectors and traditional industries should be brought under the ambit of the MGNREGA to create more job openings and for asset creation.
"The guidelines of the scheme should be more state- centric," Joseph said, adding that the recent changes made in the scheme by the Centre were not favourable for states like Kerala.
He said the objective of the scheme should not be just creating job openings but increasing productivity.
"To achieve the target, the scheme should be expanded by including more sectors. This will also help increase the number of working days of beneficiaries," the minister said.
A zonal conference of rural development and local-self government ministers of various states and lieutenant governors of Union Territories would discuss the issues connected with the MGNREGA scheme here on January 6, he said.
Union Minister for Rural Development Chaudhary Birender Singh would inaugurate the meet in which Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy would deliver the keynote address, he added.