The first meeting of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on coordination between the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Agriculture was held at NITI Aayog on Thursday.
The meeting reiterated that the asset creation of MGNREGA scheme should be maintained.
The Convener of the Sub-Group Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, along with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath participated in the meeting in person while Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani joined in the deliberations through video conferencing.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandra Babu Naidu, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sent their suggestions in writing to the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister.
At the outset, all the Chief Ministers welcomed the decision taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 4th meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog on June 17.
The Minister earlier asked to constitute the Sub-Group for suggesting ways and means about use of employment under MGNREGS for improving agriculture and reducing cost.
In the meeting, Yogi Adityanath suggested use of MGNREGA funds in supplementing labour costs in agriculture and fencing of farm land to protect it from wild animals, etc.
Furthermore, there were five critical areas that came foreward in the meeting in which MGNREGA could positively help. These included - those related to reducing the cost of cultivation, enhancing the production through efficient use of water or other inputs, providing remunerative price to farmers by incentivising aggregation and market infrastructure, rehabilitation of agricultural land and assets after natural hazards or re-plantation using MGNREGA fund and bringing diversification in agriculture to help occupational diversification and maximising profit. Besides, incentivising farm fencing to protect the farmer fields from wild animals was also suggested.
It was unanimously decided that all these issues require larger deliberations and wide range discussions with all the stakeholders.
As part of it, five regional meetings or workshops would be organised one each in Patna, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Guwahati and New Delhi to discuss with experts, farmers and farmer's representatives and other stakeholders along with state governments. These regional meetings will be completed before August 15.
The next meeting of the Sub-Group will be held on August 31.