The government has directed all district-level functionaries to undertake 50 per cent of all works under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on water conservation works. The works include checking dam construction, de-silting of traditional water bodies and minor irrigation tanks and canals.
Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the ‘sweeping’ changes was being done to mitigate a drought-like situation as well as to create more productive assets under MGNREGA. The minister stated that the decision has been taken in response to widespread criticism at the local level that MGNREGA has become a source of corruption and that no productive assets are being created.
Stressing further, Gadkari said,“Increase in the skilled percentage from 40 per cent to 49 per cent is enabling provision which empowers States , if they so wish to do part of work of check dams, minor irrigation tanks with machinery, while doing balance 51 per cent on muster payment to labour.”
He also has directed that all payments and fund transfers to states be made on e-payment platform and on a ‘just in time’ basis.