Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar today held a Video Conference with Rural Development Ministers and concerned officers of States and Union Territories for scaling up 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 the light of the relaxation granted by Ministry of Home Affairs in Non-Containment Areas from 20th April, 2020.The Minister 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 informed that the Ministry of Rural Development has already released more than Rs. 36,000 Crore to the States/UTs in the current financial year. The Ministry has sanctioned Rs. 33,300 Crore under MGNREGA out of which Rs. 20,225 Crore has been released to liquidate all outstanding dues of previous years towards wages and materials. The said sanctioned amount is sufficient to meet expenses under MGNREGA till June 2020. The Minister assured the States and UTs that adequate financial resources are available for Rural Development Programmes.
Narendra Singh Tomar also urged the States and UTs to proactively start Rural Development Schemes relating to employment generation, infrastructure creation and strengthening of rural livelihoods while taking all necessary COVID-19 related precautions.He emphasised that under MGNREGS, the focus should be on water conservation, water recharge and irrigation work in convergence with the Schemes of Ministry of Jal Shakti and Department of Land resources.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, the focus should on quick award of tenders in sanctioned road projects and starting pending road projects. The contractors, suppliers, workers etc should be galvanised to quick start the works.He appreciated the fact that women SHGs under NRLM are making protective face covers, sanitizers, soaps and are running community kitchens in large numbers. All the States/UTs fully agreed with the suggestions of the Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare. Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal in particular, thanked the Union Government for having released 100 per cent of pending wage and material dues under MGNREGS.All States/UTs assured that with the active support of Union Government, they will make all possible efforts 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.