Chandigarh, June 13: With the monsoon predicted to be deficient this year, the Central government on Friday said it is preparing plans for the states that would be the worst-hit as it announced that the number of days for MNREGA work in such states would be raised from 100 to 150.
The Union Minister for Rural Development and Drinking Water Birender Singh said arrangements would be made to provide drinking water in areas which may be hit by drought or less rainfall.
"We are preparing big plan in places which are going to be the worst affected. I have told Secretary Rural Development that states where we give 100 days of employment, we will make provision of 150 days so that people do not face problem in getting employment," he said while addressing a press conference here on completion of one year of Modi government.
The plan is being worked out "in view of forecast of 14 per cent less monsoon rains this year", he said.
Replying to a question, the minister said there was no question of changing the name of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) and that the present government has done more to strengthen the programme.
"As compared to the previous budget allocation which was never more than Rs 34,000 crore, the present government has increased it to Rs 40,000 crore. While Rs 35,000 crore were allocated in Union Budget, the Finance Minister also announced Rs 5,000 crore more," he said.
In addition, there was a budgetary ratio of 60:40 between labour and assets, which have been maintained, Singh said, denying the allegation that the central government would change it to 51:49.
He said that for the skill development of those working under MGNREGA, the government has for the first time implemented a new scheme known as Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana and National Rural Livelihood Mission.
The pace of construction of roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana has been accelerated by the government from earlier 67 kms per day to 101 kms per day, the union Rural Development Minister said, claiming that 36,000 km long roads have been constructed during one year.
Referring to the construction of houses under Indira Awas Yojana, he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target to provide houses to all by 2022 and therefore, there was a need to construct five crore houses in urban as well as rural areas. These include 2.95 crore houses in rural areas.
Now a target has been fixed to construct 50 lakh houses per year, Singh said, adding that earlier, only 15 lakh to 20 lakh houses used to be constructed under Indira Awas Yojana.
Also, it was felt that the houses constructed earlier cost Rs 70,000 each and were expected to last for about 10 years, but now the government would ensure that the houses last for at least 40 years.
Referring to the steps taken for skill development of the youth, he said that 12 lakh youth would be imparted training in three years under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana.
"The government would bear entire expenditure of their training as well as boarding and lodging. 70 per cent of the trainees would have assured employment. Their salary gap, if any, would be also be met with," he said, adding some leading business houses have come forward to supplement the efforts of the government.
To a question about the villages adopted by Members of Parliament under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, he said that so far 679 MPs from both Houses have given their consent.
He said 10 MPs (of both houses) of Delhi region do not have a village in their constituencies and when told to adopt villages of the adjoining areas, they did not agree.
"We had also offered them that there are 70-80 villages in Delhi, which have village character and they could adopt them even though there are no Panchayats but they pointed out that all such villages fall in one single parliamentary constituency," he said.
He said the target upto 2016 was to see each MP adopt one village to make it a model village and by next five years, the target would be further enhanced to three villages.
"This scheme has got encouraging response as six states including Haryana, Maharashtra and Mizoram have also introduced a similar scheme for Members of Legislative Assembly," he said.