Manmohan Singh favours redoubling of efforts to tackle drought

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New Delhi, Sep 9 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said that although the monsoon has revived in most parts of the country there is still a need to redouble efforts to mitigate the impact of drought in the rural areas.

Addressing the conference of State Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister on employment generation in rural areas here, Dr Singh said the rains over the past week augur well for the Kharif Crop, and this has brought cheer to the farmers.

"Since most of the areas of the country will have deficient rainfall, therefore, there is a need to make every effort to ensure that the impact of the drought is reduced to the minimum," he added.

Dr. Singh also said that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGA) has created a safety net in the villages, which gives a measure of protection against natural calamities, and market induced vulnerability.

"The government has committed itself to provide a real wage of hundred rupees under NREGA," he added

"Works under NREGA Programme are helping to rejuvenate and revive our natural resource base.

Over 70 percent of the works under NREGA are related to water conservation and land development which have multiple spin off benefits in terms of improved agricultural productivity and improved water management," he said.

Cautioning against expressing satisfaction because of this programme, Dr. Singh said there are still miles to go to achieve the full potential of this programme.

Referring to the government's major decision to restructure the Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) to be converted into the National Rural Livelyhood Mission NRLM, he said the multi pronged strategy of the programme is to reduce poverty in a time bound manner by providing sustainable lively hood to rural BPL families.

He further said that the NRLM is intended to achieve the next level of security, i.e. security of employment assurance through achievement of its objective of skill development and promotion of self-employment.

He also asked the banks operating in rural areas to re-visit their out reach models and think of innovative ways for delivering credit by organising financial literacy and counselling services to the poor.

"ICT enabled banking services can overcome many of the manpower constraints and develop new financial products suited to the needs of people at various levels of development," he added.

Dr. Singh also said the government proposes to set up an ombudsman in each district for effective grievance redressal under NREGA. (ANI)

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