Patnaik shoots off letter to PM on MGNRES funding

Bhubaneswar, November 21: A day after seeking 'timely' financial assistance from the Centre to tackle the drought situation in Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today shot off another letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to ensure adequate fund flow under MGNRES for the state.

"To reduce the suffering of farmers, adequate fund flow under MGNRES may be ensured by the Centre to the state government," Patnaik said in the dispatch to Modi.

Stating that the drought like situation is prevailing in 139 of the state's 314 blocks, Patnaik said, "Also, an enabling provision may be made in the NREGA software to enable the state government to provide the extra incentives to the workers under MGNREGS in the state." 

Further, Patnaik requested the Prime Minister that the wage rate under MGNREGS, fixed for Odisha, may be increased to Rs 200 per day which is the minimum wage in the state for unskilled workers.

The CM also informed the Prime Minister that in order to overcome the situation and to provide livelihood support to farmers in this crisis, the state has taken certain steps to enhance scope of the MGNREGS.

Over and above 150 (100 + 50) days works being provided by the Centre, the state government has decided to provide an additional 50 days of work in the drought-hit blocks.

The cost of the additional days will be met by the state government from its own resources, the CM mentioned in the letter.

This apart, in a bid to increase livelihood support to the workers, the state government has decided to provide 30 per cent extra wages as drought allowance to the MGNREGS workers over and above the wage rate fixed by the government of India.

The present daily wage rate for unskilled laborers in Odisha, fixed by Government of India, is Rs 174.

The state government will provide Rs 52 as drought allowance from its own resources. Thus the total wages to be paid to MGNEGS workers is Rs 226 per day, Patnaik told the Prime Minister.

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