New Delhi: A radically improved version of MNREGA expanding the schedule of work under the rural job scheme to enhance productivity in 30 areas including watershed related works, agriculture, livestock, fisheries and sanitation has come into force on Tuesday.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh tabled the `MNREGA 2.0` -- the second generation reforms for the rural job scheme-- in both Houses of Parliament today.
The new operational guideline prepared by a committee headed by planning commission member Mihir Shah is aimed at strengthening the synergy between the job scheme and rural livelihoods and is based on the ground realities in each of the region, he said.
The works have been divided into 10 broad categories like watershed, irrigation and flood management works, agricultural and livestock related works, fisheries and works in coastal areas and the Rural Drinking water and Sanitation related works.
Ramesh said that priority of the works will be decided by the Gram Panchayats in meetings of the Gram Sabhas and the Ward Sabhas.
The demand for new works has come mainly from the states like Kerala, Sikkim, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan based on the ground realities in each of the region, he said.
"Most of the new works are productivity enhancement activities and will give a big boost to rural economy," the Minister said.
Rejecting the criticism emanating in some quarters that MNREGA has led to low agricultural productivity, Ramesh said 70 per cent of rural job scheme is undertaken during the non-farm season and added that such conclusions are baseless.
Ramesh told reporters that the 30 new works being added in the Schedule 1 will also help the rural sanitation projects as for the first time toilet building, soak pits and solid and liquid waste management have been included under MNREGA.
He said, though the overall 60:40 ratio of labour and material component will be maintained at the Gram Panchayat level but there will be some flexibility in the ratio for certain works based on the practical requirements.