New Delhi, Jan 13:
In a significant move, the Union ministry of Rural Development today decided to provide an additional 50 days of wage employment beyond the stipulated 100 days under MGNREGA for scheduled tribe households living in forest areas.
Schedule tribes’ households who have received land rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 will be eligible for the additional 50 days wage employment, a release of the Rural Development Ministry said.
Union minister for Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh said, “This is an important initiative since a lot of land levelling, plantation and other activities are required to be undertaken on these lands to make them more productive. The additional person days through MGNREGA will allow the households to undertake additional work on their own land.”
Around 14 lakh individual and community titles have been distributed under FRA 2006. Of these around 8 lakh individual titles have been given in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha. Individuals from these household will be able to claim benefit of 150 days of work under MGNREGA, said the release.
FRA beneficiaries have already been automatically included for assistance under the Indira Awaas Yojana.
Assistance has been sanctioned to 5.76 lakh households in the states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh so far, the release added.
For ensuring effective implementation of MGNREGA in Naxal affected areas the Ministry has started a convergence project for MGNREGA and NRLM in 250 most backward blocks of the country.
As several of these schedule tribe dominated blocks are located in Naxal affected districts the objective of the project is to synergise the functioning of MGNREGA and NRLM so as to substantially enhance the quality of assets being created in the MGNREGA and thereby ensure better sustainability of rural livelihoods, the release said.
The ministry has allowed for cash payments of wages in the 88 Integrated Action Plan (IAP) districts apart from launching the Kaam Maango Abhiyan to proactively register demand.
The new initiative has already been implemented in six pilot districts including West Singhbhum in Jharkhand and is being upscaled to all Naxal affected areas.
The ministry has started Governance and Accelerated Livelihood Support project, in collaboration with UNDP, in 12 Naxal affected districts; West Singhbhum, Laterhar, Palamu, Gumla in Jharkhand, Malkangiri, Koraput, Nuapada, Kalahandi in Odisha and Sukma, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Balrampur in Chhattisgarh.
The project will focus on livelihood assets creation through MGNREGA in 500 Gram panchayats in these districts, the release added.