IEP Chandigarh, June 16
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday batted for optimum utilisation of The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme to give boost to development in rural areas on one hand and provide livelihood opportunities on the other hand.
Chairing a meeting here to review the functioning of scheme here today, the Chief Minister said that this scheme is important as it provides enhancement of livelihood security, giving at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household, whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. He said that the scheme has been implemented in all districts across the state from April 2008 adding that state government will enhance the budget of this ambitious scheme upto Rs 2000 crore. Bhagwant Mann said that it is heartening to learn that 11.53 lakh active job cards are there in state with 14.86 lakh active workers.
The Chief Minister bemoaned that wage rate notified under MGNREGA for State Rs 303/- is less in comparison to neighbouring State Haryana where it is Rs 357 adding that the state government will vehemently raise this issue with the Union government. He also said that state government will also make concerted efforts for Inclusion of “Laying of Underground Pipeline” activities in Permissible List for accelerating works relating irrigation, water supply and sanitation can be undertaken. Bhagwant Mann also said that the state Government will also request government of India to provide Corpus funds under the scheme.
The Chief Minister also said that the state government will also seek enhancement of Mandays Budget given by GOI as only 250 lakh mandays target for the State has been assigned which is too less than previous year achievement of 321 lakh mandays. He also underscored the need to further popularise the scheme for giving benefits to the common man. Bhagwant Mann also said that an information board should be installed at every work place under the scheme so that awareness can be created among the general public about the scheme and the details of the work done can reach the people
The Chief Minister also asked the officers to popularise the scheme through social media platforms like Facebook Page, YouTube Channel, twitter and WhatsApp groups for the purpose of sharing Best Practices and for disseminating requisite information to the rural masses. Bhagwant Mann envisioned that the scheme can be a game changer in transforming the lives of weaker and underprivileged sections besides giving impetus to development works in rural areas.