Hyderabad: In a significant move that is being seen as a major push for Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s persistent demand for linking National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) with the agriculture sector, the Chief Ministers’ sub-committee appointed by Niti Aayog met in New Delhi on Thursday to discuss the proposal.
Niti Aayog, at a meeting with Chief Ministers of all States in June, had appointed the seven-member sub-committee under the chairmanship of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and asked it to submit a report on the proposal.
Chandrashekhar Rao has been making a strong pitch for the linking of NREGA with agriculture for the past two years, and had demanded that the Central government allow States to link NREGA workers with agriculture activity. He met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard and submitted a memorandum some time ago.
The Chief Minister, during the Niti Aayog meeting on June 17, raised the subject and explained the advantages of linking EGS with agriculture. His proposal found support from several Chief Ministers at the meeting.
Chauhan and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met in New Delhi while two other Chief Ministers – Vijay Rupani (Gujarat) and Nitish Kumar (Bihar) – joined in through video conference. They exchanged views and opinions on linking EGS works with agricultural activities. The other members of the committee are Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had passed a resolution, moved by Chandrashekhar Rao, for linking EGS works with agriculture during its 17th party plenary on April 27. The resolution was handed over to the Prime Minister and Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar. Introducing the resolution, the Chief Minister highlighted the importance of linking MGNREGA with agriculture.
“MGNREGA is creating shortage of farm workers during the crop season, causing problems for farmers at the peak of faming season. If MGNREGA is linked to agriculture, labourers under the scheme can be used for farming activities,” he had then reasoned.
The Chief Minister had repeatedly asserted the importance of such a move at several public meetings and in the State Legislature too. “The State government will take up the cause and will not rest till the Central government accepts the demand,” he said.
A senior official from the State Agriculture Department told Telangana Today that a Central team had visited the State to study the EGS works taken up. “There is every possibility of the Central government coming up with a positive decision on this issue during the monsoon session of Parliament, and Thursday’s meeting is a prelude to that,” the official said.