The Central government has set up a chief ministers’ sub-group to coordinate policy approaches for agriculture and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) with the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh as the convener and CMs of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Sikkim along with the Member NITI Aayog, Ramesh Chand as its members.
The move comes close on the heels of the unanimous decision taken at the 4th meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog on June 17, 2018. 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 double incomes of farmers and reduce agrarian distress.
The Prime Minister nominated the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh to convene a sub-group of seven chief ministers for coordinated policy approach on the agriculture sector and the MGNREGS. Subsequently, the chief ministers’ sub-group has been constituted. The sub-group will be serviced by the NITI Aayog.
According to the Terms of Reference, the sub-group will suggest a wider choice of state specific interventions both for pre-sowing and post-harvest to further improve the thrust on incomes, water conservation and waste to wealth. It will align works under MGNREGS fully to the requirements of achieving the goal of Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022. This will improve thrust on water conservation, individual beneficiary schemes, construction of rural haats, vermi-composting among other initiatives.
The sub-group will further make recommendations on interventions of MGNREGS that can facilitate reduction of agrarian distress including work availability, wage rates, seasonality among other related issues. It will explore the possibilities of MGNREGS as a livelihood resource for development and diversification of livelihoods of small and marginal farmers specially belonging to SC/ST households.
The CM’s sub-group will suggest ways of aligning MGNREGS and its livelihood thrust with women self-help-groups (SHGs), producer groups, and producer companies to enable a better use of resources for livelihood. It will further explore successful convergence of programme resources across departments to ensure optimal fund utilisation, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability.
The sub-group will submit its report within three months from its date of constitution. The first meeting of the sub-group is expected to be held within the next month, as per the convenience of the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.