SRINAGAR: During a review of the Rural Development Department and Panchayati Raj schemes in the UT of J&K, it was revealed that the region is making significant progress towards finishing approximately 200,000 projects under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) this fiscal year. The meeting was chaired by Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, and this accomplishment is considered a significant milestone in the region’s history.
In addition to the Administrative Secretary of RD&PR, the meeting was attended by other high-ranking officials, including Administrative Secretaries from the Departments of Agriculture Production and Farmers Welfare, Jal Shakti, Forest, PWD, Labour & Employment, IT & Information, Revenue, Health, and YS&S, as well as the Secretary in RDD and HoDs of Agriculture and Rural Development Departments.
During the meeting, it was reported that the Department had set a high target of 200,000 works for the current year, which is a significant increase compared to previous years. The Department is confident that it will be able to achieve this goal. Furthermore, it was revealed that the Department has generated over 2.82 crore person-days of work for the rural population thus far in the current financial year.
The meeting revealed that the number of completed works under the MGNREGA scheme in previous years was considerably lower compared to this year’s achievements. For instance, in 2018-19, only 26,352 works were completed, which increased substantially in the following years. The number nearly doubled to 54,311 in 2019-20 and then increased to 67,278 in 2020-21. This year, the scheme has already crossed the 171,824 mark in completed works, representing an increase of more than 200% so far.
The total cost of achieving this remarkable number of completed works was Rs 931.16 crore. Additionally, it was noted that the percentage of women person-days amounted to approximately 30.35%, providing an opportunity for women to obtain empowerment through employment. The meeting also informed that approximately 9 lakh individuals from around 6.84 lakh households worked under this scheme to earn their livelihood.
It is worth noting that last year, the average daily wage rate per person increased from Rs 213.94 to Rs 226.78. Payments are made exclusively through online mode and are directly credited to the workers’ accounts. Additionally, most payments were made within just 15 days of completing the work, as informed during the meeting.
Regarding the plans for next year, it was disclosed that the Department has proposed around 2,71,474 works, including 1,07,249 works related to natural resources management (40%), 80,522 works related to creating individual assets for vulnerable sections, 82,334 works related to rural infrastructure, among others.
The Chief Secretary commended the Department for this exceptional achievement and encouraged them to raise their expectations for future targets while maintaining efficiency. He urged them to take advantage of this opportunity under the LG administration to introduce necessary reforms that would enhance transparency, responsibility, and accountability in the system, thus enabling them to serve the people more freely according to their expectations and needs. (KNS)