The Centre today decided to provide additional 50 days of work in drought-hit areas under the MGNREGA scheme to provide relief to farmers in view of deficit monsoon 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 has been taken after monsoon deficit today reached 16 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 government has decided 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 has been notified,” the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.
“A decision in this regard was taken today. The drought areas will be notified in consultation with states,” Rural Development Secretary J K Mohapatra told PTI.
The move will enable states to provide additional wage employment to 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,” the statement said.
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.
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 for 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.