Government's volte-face on MGNREGA
IN THE face of a deficit monsoon, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed the rural ministry to take up massive water conservation structures under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Under this campaign, the Centre plans to construct 42 water harvesting structures every hour till August. The ministry of rural development, after holding consultations with the states, decided to construct around three million water harvesting structures, including irrigation projects, by the end of August. Modi's focus on the job programme is unusual as just a few months ago he had told Parliament that he wanted to "preserve" the programme as the symbol of failure of the previous Congress government that had introduced this scheme. As per government documents, the current year's progress report on the work shows that around 33,000 structures have been completed and work on around 1.1 million structures is on. The government wants to finish the remaining 1.8 million structures by August. However, it will only be possible if work is carried out non-stop till the end of August.