New Delhi, Sep 16: People in drought-hit areas will get additional 50 days of work under the MGNREGA scheme due to monsoon deficit in various parts of the country. At present, 100 days of work is provided to rural job card holders under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
The decision was taken in today's Cabinet meeting after monsoon deficit widened beyond 15 per cent across the country, which could affect kharif crops and rural income. Already, Karnataka has declared drought in 27 out of 30 districts, while Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are also likely to declare drought-hit areas in their states.
"The Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to provide an additional 50 days of unskilled manual work in the financial year, over and above the 100 days assured to job card holders, in such rural areas where drought or natural calamities have been notified," Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after the meeting. The move will enable states to provide additional wage employment to the rural poor in drought affected areas.
"The poorest rural households will benefit from this, as it will help in immediate absorption of rural seasonal unemployment, and reduce rural distress," he said. Prasad also listed many other steps taken by government to provide immediate relief to farmers in view of the deficit monsoon in the kharif season of 2015.
Earlier, the government had announced diesel subsidy scheme for farmers to help save standing crops. It also enhanced ceiling on seed subsidy to compensate the farmers in the drought affected districts for the additional expenditure incurred in the re-sowing, he added.
The government has also announced appropriate input support measures to rejuvenate water-stressed horticulture crops in drought-hit areas. It has also decided to provide assistance for additional interventions production of fodder for mitigating adverse impact of drought on livestock in drought-hit blocks.
That apart, the Centre has made flexible allocation under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and other centrally sponsored schemes. It has put in place crop contingency plan for 600 districts.