Odisha drought: CM seeks sufficient fund flow under MGNREGS

Bhubaneswar: In the wake of acute drought situation in Odisha and the pitiable condition of the farmers of the state, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has sought timely intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to overcome the crisis.

In a letter to the Prime Minister on Saturday, Patnaik said Odisha is facing a severe drought this year on account of scanty and erratic rainfall. As per the preliminary report, the drought like situation is prevailing in 139 blocks out of 314 blocks of the state.

Apprising the Prime Minister of the steps taken up by the state government to enhance the reach and scope of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to overcome the situation and to provide livelihood support to farmers in this crisis, the chief minister said apart from the 150 man-days work being provided by the Centre, the state government has decided to provide an additional 50 days of work in the drought-hit blocks. “The cost of the additional 50 days will be met by the state government from its own resources”, he added.

This apart, to increase livelihood support to the workers, the state government has decided to provide 30 percent extra wages as drought allowance to the MGNREGS workers apart from the wage rate fixed by the Centre. The present daily wage rate for unskilled labourers in Odisha fixed by the Centre is Rs 174. The state government will provide Rs 52 as drought allowance from its own resources. Thus the total wages to be paid to MGNREGS workers is Rs 226, Patnaik said.

In order to reduce the suffering of farmers, Patnaik requested the Prime Minister to ensure adequate fund flow under MGNREGS to the state government and make necessary provisions in the NREGA software to enable the state government to provide the extra Incentives to the workers under MGNREGS in the state. Besides, he also requested the Prime Minister to increase the wage rate under MGNREGS fixed for Odisha to Rs 200.