After about seven years of the launch of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the Centre has decided to go for real asset creation. A pilot project in Maharashtra would be taken for laying of railway lines for which the workers under the MGNREGA would be roped in.
Railway minister Mallikarjuna Kharge told reporters on Friday that the rural development ministry has agreed to engage the MGNREGA workers for a pilot project in Nandurbar in Mahrashtra for laying of the railway lines. “The ministries of railways and rural development will share the cost of engaging the MGNREGA workers. This will help in the real asset creation under the MGREGA scheme,” said Mr Kharge.
While former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi had first mooted the idea of roping in the funds of the MGNREGA for the infrastructure development of the railways, it was his successor Pawan Kumar Bansal who had pursued the idea on a serious note with Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh.
“We have discussed with Mr Ramesh wherever there is a lack of jobs for the MGNREGA workers, the panchayats through which the rail networks go could partner with the railways for taking up works. We can give the MGNREGA workers jobs of building approach to the rail lines and soil works,” said Mr Kharge.
The minister informed that the railway officials would talk to their counterparts in the ministry of rural development and also the panchayats to discuss technical matters so that there could be a convergence of the MGNREGA and rail works. The ministry of rural development is also likely to notify some works connected with the railways, like afforestation and construction of approach road for crossings. Also works such as construction of embankments, developing waterways, constructing pathways afforestation and construction of approach roads for railway crossings under MNREGA could soon be notified, sources said.