Himachal Pradesh

Work opportunities under MGNREGA amid COVID-19 crisis in rural areas

Development of rural areas is crucial for the progress of the state with inclusive and equitable growth of every section of the society, so that potential of rural areas could be realised and benefits of development percolated to the grass root level.

The period of lockdown has been a span of time in which people in rural areas and especially those on the brink of poverty were most concerned about earning their livelihoods and fulfilling their day- to- day needs.

In order to maximize work opportunities for unemployed and under employed, a multi faceted developmental strategy was drawn to address the needs of poor in rural areas that will sustain development and promote economic growth as well.

Development and employment generating programmes under MGNREGA scheme during the coronavirus scare has emerged as a strong model of inclusive development for rural areas in providing social security.

The Centre and State Government during the lockdown period took the initiative to protect economic interests of labourers and started MGNREGA works in rural areas of the State. As a result developmental works started in rural areas and infrastructure in rural areas got a fillip benefiting unskilled workers, who could get reliable income sources during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The State Government has raised the wages of MGNREGA labourers from Rs. 185 per day to Rs. 198 per day to boost their morale. The State Government’s safety guidelines of mutual social distancing and wearing masks are being followed during execution of rural works.

The Rural Development department through DRDA in Shimla district will provide Rs. 20, 73, 253 in MGNREGA labourers accounts after the completion of works. In the district, 1985 works are being undertaken and 10471 workers have been employed. In Basantpur Block 116 works, Chhauhara 47, Chopal 253, Jubbal 108, Kupvi 43, Mashobra 193, Nankhari 77, Narkanda 139, Rampur Bushahr 548, Rohru 73 and in Theog Block 388 works are in progress.

In executing MGNREGA works convergence model of various developmental scheme has been adopted so that continuous work could be provided to the persons engaged in these works. It includes water harvesting tanks, land levelling, plantation and small irrigation projects in rural areas.

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