Rain deficit: States told may need more rural jobs

With the overall rainfall deficit hovering over 25 per cent despite a month into monsoon,the government has started preparing for the worst in case

Written by Ravish Tiwari | New Delhi | Published: July 2, 2012 12:32 am

With the overall rainfall deficit hovering over 25 per cent despite a month into monsoon,the government has started preparing for the worst in case there isn’t enough rainfall to generate agricultural employment in the ongoing kharif season.

The Centre has asked state governments to prepare contingency plans to intensify the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to meet any shortfall in employment generation in the eventuality of deficit rainfall.

“The data shows that in some parts of the country the rainfall has been lower than normal. This may lead to an increased demand for employment under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act,” Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has written to chief ministers,advising them to “draw up contingency plans to meet increased demand for employment”,if rainfall deficit continues in July and August.

The ministry had asked the states to intensify NREGS activities during 2009-10 drought to provide livelihood to agricultural labourers who had suffered due to decline in farm activities. According to the protocol set up then,the states were required to identify sufficient number of projects to absorb the demand for employment.

Ramesh has assured the CMs that the Centre will extend its full support.

“The ministry would be open to a revision in the labour budget for current year required to meet this increased demands,” Ramesh has assured state governments,indicating that the government was ready to provide “additional funds” to meet their contingencies.

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