Going ahead with its objective of extending the scope of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) through convergence with other departments, the Centre has accepted a number of recommendations of the State governments as job works to be taken up under the scheme.
The scope of manual work has been enlarged to cover such works that resulting creation of social infrastructure, conservation and restoration of heritage building and sites, ensure technology for income generation and increasing productivity and convergence with other works with the scheme as labour component.
Accepting a number of suggestions, the Ministry of Rural Development has approved construction of community centres for social activities, school buildings, panchayat bhavans, anganwadi centres, kitchen-cum-store under mid-day meal, playgrounds and mini-stadium for sports, market shed, community cattle shed, fish landing centres, artificial roof and drying yard for fishery sector, boat jetty, cremation shed and toilet with water closet for women, aiming at creation of social infrastructure.
As regards convergence, it has recommended taking up sanitation campaign with labour component from the scheme and supported construction of houses under various schemes as the Indira Awas Yojna, where the unskilled labour component and earth work would be carried out under the NREGS fund as it would serve as a cushion to escalation of cost.
Similarly construction of houses for the below poverty line (BPL) families in rural areas has been recommended by dovetailing with IAY and individual household latrines for the BPL under the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) by dovetailing with the TSC.
To speed up rural electrification and take power to the lowest levels, the department has permitted erection of poles under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Programme.
With respect to social services, the department has agreed that wages be paid from NREGS to mid-day meal cook, to boatmen engaged in carrying out relief and rescue operation during floods, for those engaged in relief distribution work and construction of temporary relief camps and to social animators, preferably female, for connecting NREGA labour to human development services in the areas of literacy, health services, sanitation and nutrition.
The department has also favoured engaging services of a woman to operate a crèche for children below three yeas adjoining the anganwadis and engaging services of a person for cooking food in anganwadis that have agreed to move to cooked meals.
Works for increasing productivity have mainly been limited to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and the BPL households only.
They include nutrient pest management (NPT) and organic cultivation, green fodder development, making of soak pit and garbage pit as to use solid and liquid waste management where the recommended wage and material component ratio is 60:40, and construction of wall protection or barbed wire fencing around the agricultural fields for crop protection to check against the menace of wild animals.
However, construction of vermin-compost units has been favoured in the general category.