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Jal Shakti Ministry banks on MGNREGS for jobs to migrant workers

The ministry has written to all states to identify work-related to groundwater rejuvenation, irrigation and water conservation keeping in mind the approaching monsoon season.

Published: 22nd May 2020 02:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd May 2020 11:22 AM   |  A+A-

Migrants shift to a shelter home in a village before leaving for their native places in special buses arranged by the Rajasthan government during ongoing COVID-19 lockdown in Jaipur May 21 2020. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: As thousands of migrants from across India travel back to their hometowns, the Centre is banking on the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to provide employment.

The Union Jal Shakti ministry has written to all states to identify work-related to groundwater rejuvenation, irrigation and water conservation keeping in mind the approaching monsoon season.

As part of Centre’s Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package to boost the economy, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Sunday, announced that the government will allocate an additional Rs 40,000 crore to MGNREGS to provide employment.

The earlier budget estimate for the scheme was Rs 61,000 crore and she said it will help generate nearly 300 crore person-days in total.

In a directive to all states, the Jal Shakti Ministry said that rejuvenation of traditional water bodies for the community are permissible works under MGNREGS and districts may, therefore, undertake a quick and comprehensive census of such traditional water bodies with details of their present status.

“All district authorities be asked that all available resources, by converging available programmes, may be used for water conservation. MHA allowed MGNREGS work on April 15 during lockdown with priority to be given to irrigation and water conservation works,” it said.

The ministry pointed out that apart from water conservation and irrigation activities allowed under MGNREGS, a number of related activities are taken up under other schemes being implemented by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

“These include augmentation of existing water resources, groundwater recharge, rainwater harvesting and greywater management for reuse and recharge. Renovation, including desilting, construction of inlets/outlets, catchment area treatment can be taken up on priority. Such will also ensure water source availability in rural areas,” it said.

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