MGNREGA Current Affairs
The Union Government has constituted Chief Ministers Subgroup to coordinate policy approaches for agriculture sector and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). It will submit its report within three months from its date of constitution.
Composition: Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan will be its convener and CMs of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim along with Member NITI Aayog, Ramesh Chand as its members.
CMs Subgroup formation comes in backdrop of vision of Central Government towards Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022 which requires multi-dimensional and inclusive approach. It comes close on heels of unanimous decision taken at 4th meeting of Governing Council of NITI Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the deliberations, it was suggested to come out with approaches with special emphasis on pre-sowing and post-harvest interventions using MGNREGS, for creating durable assets that will double incomes of farmers and reduce agrarian distress.
Terms of Reference of the Sub-Group
It will suggest wider choice of State specific interventions both for pre-sowing and post-harvest to improve thrust on incomes, waste to wealth and water conservation. It will align works under MGNREGS to requirements of achieving goal of Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022. It will help to improve thrust on individual beneficiary schemes, water conservation, construction of rural haats, vermi-composting etc.
It will make recommendations on interventions of MGNREGS that can facilitate reduction of agrarian distress including work availability, wage rates, seasonality etc. It will also explore possibilities of MGNREGS as livelihood resource for development and diversification of livelihoods of small and marginal farmers specially belonging to SC/ST households.
It will suggest ways of aligning MGNREGS and its livelihood thrust with women Self Help Groups (SHGs), producer companies and producer groups to enable better use of resources for livelihood. It will explore successful convergence of program resources across departments to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, optimal fund utilization and sustainability.
MGNREGA has reached a major milestone by geotagging one crore assets created under it. The geotagged assets have been put in public domain. The scale of assets created under MGNREGA is massive and is estimated to be about 2.82 crore assets since the financial year 2006-07. On an average, it works out to a creation of 30 lakh assets annually.
The type of assets created under MGNREGA includes water harvesting structures, plantations, rural infrastructure, flood control measures, individual assets for sustainable livelihood, community infrastructure etc. As per the Ministry of Rural Affairs, all assets created under MGNREGA will be geotagged and special focus would be given to geotagging of Natural Resource Management works primarily the water-related works.
The geotagging exercise is expected to usher in greater transparency and accountability at field level.
Geotagging of assets created under MGNREGA was started after Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised the need for online recording and monitoring of assets to check leakages. Subsequently, on June 24, 2016, the Ministry of Rural development signed a MoU with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO and National Informatics Centre to geotag MGNREGA assets created under each village panchayats.
The geotagging exercise commenced from 1st September 2016. Gram Rozgar Sahayak or a junior engineer uploads the photos of assets on the Bhuvan web portal run by ISRO’s National Remote Sensing Centre via a mobile app. The time and location of the asset get automatically encrypted at the time of upload of the photos. In this way, within a span of seven months, one crore assets have been geotagged and shared in public domain.
In January 2017, Kangra district (Himachal Pradesh) became the first district in the country to geotag all the assets created under MGNREGA.
Geotagging is a process of adding geographical identification in the form of metadata to various media like websites, SMS, QR codes, RSS feeds, geotagged photographs etc. The data usually consists of parameters like latitude, longitude, altitude, distance, place names etc. It can help to find a range of location specific information from a device.