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CMs meet to discuss using MNREGA to reduce cost of agriculture
By TOG News Service
Jul 12, 2018

 TOG News Service, NEW DELHI, JULY 12, 2018: THE First Meeting of Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on coordination between MGNREGA and Agriculture was held at NITI Aayog today. At the outset, all the Chief Ministers welcomed the decision taken by the Prime Minister to constitute the Sub-Group for suggesting ways and means about use of employment under MGNREGS for improving agriculture and reducing cost. They appreciated the role of NITI Aayog in convening the meeting at an early date. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh suggested use of MGNREGA funds in supplementing labour costs in agriculture and fencing of farm land to protect it from wild animals.  

The Convener of the Sub-Group Mr Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh participated in the meeting. The Chief Minister of Bihar, Mr Nitish Kumar and Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr Vijay Rupani joined in the deliberations through video conferencing.   Mr N. Chandra Babu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Ms Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal sent their suggestions in writing to the Convener of the sub-group.  Member (Agriculture), NITI Aayog Prof Ramesh Chand, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog; Secretary, Rural Development; Chief Executive Officer, NRAA, Senior Officers of NITI Aayog, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Agriculture and State Government of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh attended the delibeartions.

It was noted that five critical areas in which MGNREGA could positively help came to the fore in the meeting, namely 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. 5 regional meetings/workshops would be organized one each at Patna, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Guwahati and New Delhi to discuss with experts, farmers and farmer's representatives and other stakeholders along with State Governments. The Sub-Group reiterated that that while working for the coordination, we must ensure the rights of the labourers and maintain the “asset creation'' spirit of MGNREGA.  NITI Aayog, in consultation with Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Agriculture and State Governments will finalise the regional meetings. These regional meetings will be completed before 15 th  of August, 2018. The next meeting of the Sub-Group will be held on 31 st  August.