Union Minister for Rural Development Birender Singh today said that the government has decided to train 10,000 young “barefoot” technicians in the basic concepts of civil engineering and involve them in planning, doing layout, measuring and supervising MGNREGA works in 2,500 most backward blocks across India.
A Bare Foot Technician is an educated person, identified from the local SC/ST MGNREGA worker households and specially trained in civil engineering concepts, using the customized training modules.
Singh said here that better training and skills development will not only contribute to creation of durable and good quality works but also more sustainable maintenance of assets. It will also provide employment and will give horizontal and vertical mobility to these young women and men especially to those from vulnerable sections of society.
Similarly, to improve maintenance of the large PMGSY rural roads network (4,50,000 kilometers of PMGSY roads have been constructed across the country since the inception of PMGSY in December 2000), the training manuals for field engineers and contractors have already been used in the training of more than 6,000 engineers and contractors across the country in the last 4 months. Singh renewed the Government’s commitment to eliminating poverty by empowering the rural poor with initiatives for inclusion and empowerment while ensuring quality and sustainability of assets.
Earlier, Birender Singh and the Deputy Director-General (DDG) of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Sandra Polaski, jointly launched a set of new training manuals developed in collaboration for – MGNREGA and PMGSY. The Ministry of Rural Development and ILO have also collaborated to pilot new and innovative ways of maintaining rural roads through simplified procedures. These ground-level initiatives involving local communities and contractors to maintain rural roads will enhance employment opportunities and improve the assets built.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Rural Development JK Mohapatra said that wage payment on time is a major issue in MGNREGA and this must be rectified through suitable interventions.
In her address, Sandra Polaski, DDG (Policy), ILO, commended the Government of India for their leadership and efforts in overcoming the challenges in rural employment through these flagship schemes and other programmes. She thanked the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India for the opportunity for this technical partnership, which will not only support the schemes of the government, but also contribute to global innovations in the field of public employment and infrastructure development.