Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar held a two-hour long Video Conference with Rural Development Ministers and concerned officers of States and Union Territories today in the light of the relaxation in Non-Containment Areas from 20th April 2020, and initiation of works under Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) in such Non-Containment Areas. Shri Narendra Singh Tomar emphasised that although the challenge posed by the spread of Covid-19 epidemic is very serious, but this challenge must be perceived as an opportunity by all States/UTs to develop and strengthen rural infrastructure, create employment opportunities in rural areas and facilitate diversification of rural livelihoods.He emphasised that under MGNREGS, the focus should be on water conservation, water recharge and irrigation works in convergence with the Schemes of Ministry of Jal Shakti and Department of Land Resources.The Minister appreciated the fact that women SHGs under NRLM are making protective face covers, sanitisers, soaps and are running community kitchens in large numbers.
He suggested that maximum number of SHGs and their products should be onboarded on Government e-Market (GeM) Portal and SHG enterprises must be expanded and strengthened.Under PMAY (G), priority would be to complete those 48 lakh housing units where 3rd and 4th instalments have been given to the beneficiaries. Under PMGSY, quick award of tenders in sanctioned road projects and starting pending road projects would be the focus area.He mentioned that the Ministry has already issued advisories to the States/UTs for observance of all safety precautions while carrying out works under PMAY(G), PMGSY, NRLM and MGNREGS. He further underlined that all necessary precautions must be taken at all work sites to ensure the safety and well-being of workers as per the said advisories. He also assured all States/UTs that adequate financial resources would be made available to them.All the States/UTs fully agreed with the suggestions of the Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare. Bihar, Karnataka, Haryana and Odisha, in particular, thanked the Union Government for having released 100 per cent of pending wage and material dues under MGNREGS. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana requested for additional targets under PMAY(G). Odisha stressed the need for promotion of farm and non-farm enterprises on a wider scale under NRLM.All States/UTs assured that they are mobilising the Rural Development field staff, functionaries of Panchayati Raj Institutions and other community level functionaries to ensure that rural development schemes are implemented in an effective and efficient manner conforming to the guidelines issued by the Union Home Ministry, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Ministry of Rural Development.