An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on drought headed by Sharad Pawar today sanctioned Rs 480 crore as immediate relief to Gujarat for rural drinking water.

The panel also announced increase in man days limit under MGNREGA from 100 to 150 per person.

Pawar, along with Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and central government officials, today held a detailed meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the drought-like situation arisen out of water scarcity due to deficient rains.

The state government presented a memorandum of Rs 14,683 crore to the EGoM to fight the drought-like situation in the state.

Pawar, however, instructed the state government to divide the memorandum in two parts — one about the immediate emergency requirement and the other over the year requirement for the drought-like situation.

The state has so far had scanty rainfall which is even less than 25 per cent of the average rainfall data. The most affected are the Saurashtra and Kutch regions.

After coming out of the meeting, Jairam Ramesh said: “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given EGoM power to sanction immediate relief funds, and we have decided to sanction Rs 480 crore for rural drinking water for the state.”

Rural employment

He also said that the man days limit per worker under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) will be increased in Gujarat from 100 to 150 so that those living in rural areas can get more work.

Pawar said it has been established that the situation in Saurashtra and Kutch is bad while other places in the state have also received deficient rains.

Pawar said he has instructed the state government to give a separate memorandum for immediate relief assistance and another one for long-term assistance for the year.

The EGoM has also instructed the state government to increase the budget of its labour department by 25 per cent and they will request the Prime Minister to subside the 25 per cent increase.

(This article was published on August 3, 2012)
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