Source: Press Information Bureau
In 2014, the amendment to MGNREGA Schedule-I was done which mandates that at least 60% expenditure will be on agriculture and allied activities was done. Consequently, a list of permissible works under the Act now has nearly 75% activities that directly improve the water security and water conservation efforts.
Paragraph 1B of amended Schedule-1 of MGNREG Act provides that the focus of the Scheme shall be on the following works and the order of priority shall be determined by each Gram Panchayat after the meeting of Gram Sabha. The works included in Para 1B Schedule I of MGNREG Act are:
- Water conservation and water harvesting
- Watershed management
- Drought proofing including afforestation and tree plantation
- Irrigation canals, including micro and macro irrigation works
- Provision of irrigation facility, dug out farm pond, Horticulture, Plantation, farm bund and land development on land owned by households specified in paragraph 1C of Schedule 1 of the Act.
- Renovation of traditional water bodies including desilting of tanks
- Land development
- Flood control and protection work including drainage in waterlogged areas
- Deepening and repairing of flood channels, construction of stormwater
- Rural connectivity to provide all weather access, including culverts and roads within a village, wherever necessary.
- Drains for coastal protection; fisheries related works, such as fisheries in seasonal water bodies on public land; works in coastal areas, such as fish drying yards, belt vegetation. .
- Rural drinking water related works, such as soak pits, recharge pits
- Rural sanitation related works
- Solid and liquid waste management
- Construction of Anganwadi centers and play fields
- Any other permissible works which may be notified by the Central Government in consultation with the State Government (Mahatma Gandhi NREGA 2005)
- Approximately 60% of the resources are spent on Natural Resource Management (NRM).
- The NRM works are focused on ensuring higher incomes to farmers by improving both the area under cultivation and yield of crops. This is done by improving the productivity of land and increasing the water availability.
- The major works taken up under NRM include check dam, ponds, renovation of traditional water bodies, land development, embankment, field bunds, field channels, plantations, contour trenches etc.
- The expenditure on NRM work expenditure has been rising in a sustained manner over the last five years. The NRM Expenditure under MGNREGS over the 5 years (FY 2014-2019) is as under:
- The MGNREGA has been working in convergence with various States in implementing schemes tailor made for the area. The NRM works comprise of a complete tool kit to tackle the problem of water conservation. The list of activities are so designed that it suits the varying requirements of the States according to their topography.
- The funds of MGNREGA, dovetailed with State funds have led to the following very successful state level schemes:
- The Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), Delhi in January, 2018 conducted a national evaluation of Natural Resource Management (NRM) works under MGNREGS and its impact on sustainable livelihoods. While carrying out national evaluation, the study found increase in productivity, incomes fodder availability, acreage, and even rise in water table on account of the NRM works.