New Delhi, April 11: Over the years rising populations, growing industrialization, and expanding agriculture have pushed up the demand for water. To protect the water environment in India, Ministry of Rural Development has released nearly 23,500 crore rupees to the States as first tranche for this Financial Year, under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
The amount released includes all pending liabilities as on 31st March, 2017. It is also to ensure priority work on water conservation measures. The Government is laying considerable emphasis on Water Conservation and Water Management works under MGNREGS. All States have been advised to ensure that such works are taken up wherever required with appropriate technical and scientific scrutiny.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Water Resources, Mission Water Conservation Guidelines have been developed and shared with the States. A list of 2264 water-stressed Blocks, as ascertained from the Ministry of Water Resources, has been prepared. These Blocks are located in 324 districts of 21 States. In a recent communication to the States, the Ministry has advised the States to ensure not less than 65 percent expenditure on Natural Resource Management Activities.
In a communication to the Chief Secretaries, Secretary, Rural Development has requested them to accord top most priority to Water Conservation works under MGNREGS. Special thrust has to be ensured in drought prone regions and in districts, Blocks receiving inadequate rainfall.
Apart from focusing on execution of works related to Water Conservation and Water Management, States have been requested to ensure work availability to poor households in poor regions on priority. A campaign to ensure a Job Card for every household that reported deprivation in SECC has been going on. No poor household will be denied work in MGNREGS.