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CMs' sub-group constituted for convergence of agriculture, MGNREGS

New Delhi [India], June 19 : The Centre on Tuesday set up a Chief Ministers' sub-group to coordinate policy approaches for agriculture and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

The group will be headed by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and will constitute the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Sikkim, along with Ramesh Chand of the NITI Aayog.

The idea was proposed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in the fourth Governing Council meeting of the NITI Aayog held on June 17.

In the meeting, it was suggested to come out with approaches with special emphasis on pre-sowing and post-harvest interventions using the MGNREGS, for creating durable assets that double income of farmers and reduce agrarian distress.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi nominated Chouhan to convene a sub-group of seven Chief Ministers for a coordinated policy approach on the agriculture sector and MGNREGS.

The sub-group, which will be serviced by the NITI Aayog, has tentatively been assigned to suggest a wider choice of state-specific interventions both for pre-sowing and post-harvest to further improve the thrust on incomes, water conservation and waste to wealth.

It has been asked to align works under the MGNREGS fully to the requirements of achieving the goal of doubling farmers' income by 2022, as this will improve thrust on water conservation, individual beneficiary schemes, and construction of rural 'haats', among others.

The sub-group will also make recommendations on interventions of the MGNREGS that can facilitate reduction of agrarian distress including work availability, wage rates and seasonality among others.

It will further explore the possibilities of MGNREGS as a livelihood resource for development and diversification of livelihoods of small and marginal farmers, especially those belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe households.

The ministers will have to suggest ways of aligning MGNREGS and its livelihood thrust with women Self Help Groups (SHGs), producer groups, and producer companies to enable a better use of resources for livelihood.

As part of the sub-group, they will also explore the successful convergence of program resources across departments to ensure optimal fund utilisation, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability.
The sub-group will submit its report within three months from its date of constitution.

The first meeting of the sub-group is expected to be held in the next month, as per the convenience of Chouhan.

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