Odisha CM , Naveen Patnaik

Odisha seeks centre to hike wage rate under MGNREGA for drought hit farmers

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure adequate fund flow under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) to reduce the suffering of farmers facing drought situation in the state.

Patnaik, in a letter to the Prime Minister, also urged to increase the wage rate under MGNREGA fixed for Odisha to Rs 200, which is the minimum wage in the state for unskilled labourers.

He said the state is facing severe drought situation due to scanty rainfall this monsoon.

As per the preliminary report, a drought-like situation is prevailing in 139 blocks out of 314 blocks of the state.

In order to mitigate the drought situation, the state government has decided to provide additional 50 man-days under MGNREGA scheme in drought affected blocks against 150 days of work provided by central government.

“To increase livelihood support to workers, the state government has decided to provide 30 percent extra wages as drought allowance to the MGNREGS workers over and above the wage rate fixed by the government of India,” informed the Chief Minister in the letter.

The present daily wage rate for unskilled labourers in Odisha fixed by the centre is Rs 174. However, the state government has decided to provide Rs 52 as drought allowance from its own resources. Thus, the total wages to be paid MGNREGS workers is Rs 226, said Patnaik.