Rural Development Ministry is developing rural clusters under Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission, with the objective of bridging the rural-urban divide and reducing migration from rural to urban areas, Ram Kripal Yadav, Minister of State for Rural Development said today.
Replying a query in the Rajya Sabha, he said that the government has taken various steps to check distress migration. The Ministry has been taken steps like giving additional 50 days of unskilled employment under MGNREGA to drought affected areas, he added.
According to official data, during 2016-17, seven drought affected states were allowed 150 days of work under MGNREGA. In the current year Kerala and Puducherry have already been given this provision.
The Minister also informed that a study conducted by Ministry through independent evaluators has reported that Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has resulted in reduction of seasonal migration. Other studies also indicated direct and positive impact of MGNREGA in reduction of distress migration by providing work closer to home and decent working conditions. He said that the gist of such studies has been brought out by the Ministry in a publication named ‘MGNREGA Sameeksha’.
Further, on the recommendation of Ministry of Rural Development, National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR) has commissioned two studies on migration, namely, Impact of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme on Distress Migration: A study of selected states of India and Impact of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act on the Migration of Tribal Folk: A Case Study in Junglemahal districts of West Bengal.
Earlier during Question Hour, Rural Development minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed the House that over 5.69 crore households had sought employment under the MGNREGA scheme in 2016-17 and 5.12 crore of them were provided work.
Tomar said at times, people registered themselves for work but did not turn up later when called for and sought to assure the House that the rules were being followed. He said the Centre was providing adequate funds for the scheme. Of the Rs 48,000 crore, the Centre had already disbursed upto Rs 31,000 crore.
Responding to related queries, he said there had been an increase in the wages under MGNREGA over the years. He said the participation of women under the scheme was up to 56 per cent and of the weaker sections 40 per cent.
He said while those not having Aadhaar cards will not be barred from work under the scheme, but the unique identification number was being encouraged. Around nine crore Aadhaar cards have been linked, he said.
He said that efforts were also being made to ensure that funds meant for MGNREGA are not diverted.