Down to Earth - - Cover Story / Mgnrega -

in the vicin­ity, which too have dried up in the re­cent years. Han­sraj, a vil­lage elder, es­ti­mates that the tank with 16,000 cu m stor­age ca­pac­ity will of­fer an as­sured ir­ri­ga­tion to 80 ha of farm­land. “My wheat yield will sim­ply dou­ble,” he says.

The fo­cus on us­ing MGN­REGA for wa­ter con­ser­va­tion is def­i­nitely yield­ing re­sults in term of en­hanced agri­cul­ture and avail­abil­ity ir­ri­ga­tion lo­cally. This has eco­nomic ben­e­fit in long-term. Amit Mathur, MGN­REGA in-charge of Ajmer, says, “Get­ting such works done has helped peo­ple in two ways. First, they re­ceived cash as an im­me­di­ate re­lief. Now, they are us­ing the land and ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties to grow veg­eta­bles, which will of­fer them reg­u­lar in­come.” Dur­ing the four months till July, the gov­ern­ment has spent about

65 lakh on the works; close to 70 per cent of it went to peo­ple as wages.

En­thu­si­asm can be clearly gauged from the com­pleted works. In states like West Ben­gal that re­ceived a large num­ber labour­ers who had left the state ear­lier, a huge amount of works have been com­pleted be­tween April and July this year com­pared to the same pe­riod last year. Over 72,000 works re­lated to nat­u­ral re­source man­age­ment have been com­pleted this year, com­pared to just 7,000 dur­ing the whole of last year. Bi­har, another state with a high num­ber of peo­ple re­turn­ing to their state, com­pleted nine times

Ut­tarak­hand chief min­is­ter wants agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties to be in­cluded un­der the em­ploy­ment scheme to en­sure peo­ple do not leave their vil­lages again

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