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100-day agenda: Skill training for 5 crore MGNREGA workers

Under its 100-day agenda, the Centre is all set to revamp MGNREGA, which guarantees 100 days of employment to the rural poor.

, ET Bureau|
Jul 16, 2019, 09.32 AM IST
MGNREGA women workers
NEW DELHI: Training five crore unskilled labourers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is the next big-ticket promise of the central government.

Under its 100-day agenda, the Centre is all set to revamp MGNREGA, which guarantees 100 days of employment to the rural poor.

The revamp would include providing training to the rural poor to upgrade their skills and equip them for better employment opportunities.

Speaking to ET, secretary (rural development) Amarjeet Sinha said, “There is a need to upgrade skills of MGNREGA workers. How long would they do unskilled work? We had initiated skill upgradation in a limited manner about two years ago. But now it will be expanded in a planned manner.”

The ministry of rural development would not only bear the cost of training these labourers but also give them a daily allowance when they attend training programmes.

A senior official, who did not wish to be identified, told ET, “The hurdle in training is not the cost but the loss in wages. When an unskilled labourer is trained he is reluctant to miss out on his daily wages.” The government would now make good this “loss” in daily wages with a fixed stipend. “This would mean that the government would pay a labourer to get trained,” said the official. The ministry is likely to tap into ?600-700 crore under MNREGA’s capacity building component for this programme. It is in talks with ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship to propose skill development programmes.

Apart from conceptualising the skill upgradation programme by end of August, the ministry has also included water conservation under MNREGA. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to save water, the ministry has decided to include water conservation works under MNREGA. Sinha said, “This has been a thrust area for the last four and a half years but we would now have a targeted approach.” Already 18.5 lakh water conservation works have been completed this year.

The ministry plans to undertake 10 lakh water conservation works under MNREGA under its 100-day programme. Another major initiative under 100-day agenda is Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana Phase III, which would involve building 1.25 lakh kilometres of roads connecting markets and mandis and other places of economic importance in rural India. The Cabinet gave its approval last week and now the award of works would be initiated by end of August. The ministry has taken steps towards employing eco-friendly practices for the third phase.

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