The Centre has already released more than Rs 36,000 crore to the states/UTs in the current financial year (FY2020-21) for the development schemes of the villages, said Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar.
Tomar held a meeting with all the rural development ministers and concerned officials of the states and Union Territories via a video conference and urged them to scale up of the works under the 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 relaxations granted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in the non-containment areas w.e.f. April 20.
He informed that the Union 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 the outstanding dues of previous years towards wages and materials.
The said sanctioned amount is sufficient to meet the expenses under MGNREGA till June, 2020. The minister assured the states and UTs that adequate financial resources are available for rural development programmes.
The Union Minister emphasised that although the challenge posed by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is very serious, it 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.
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 the Ministry of Jal Shakti and Department of Land Resources.
He appreciated the fact that women SHGs under NRLM are making protective face covers, sanitisers, soaps apart from running community kitchens in large numbers.
Under PMAY (G), the priority would be to complete those 48 lakh housing units where third and fourth instalments have been given to the beneficiaries.
Under PMGSY, the focus should on quick awarding of tenders in sanctioned road projects and starting pending road projects. The contractors, suppliers, workers etc. should be galvanised to quick start the works.
According to a statement issued by the ministry, all the states/UTs fully agreed with the suggestions put forward by Tomar. Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, in particular, thanked the Union government for having released 100 per cent of pending wages and material dues under MGNREGS.