Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said here on Saturday that wage under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) was likely to be revised in April next. The current wage is Rs. 174 a day.

He was replying to a question at a press conference here after launching seven rural development programmes and unveiling 15 handbooks on different schemes. A proposal to hike the MNREGA wage was being looked into by the Union government, he said.

The government was providing every poor family registered under the MNREGA with 100 days of guaranteed work. Rural development programmes to improve the quality of lives of people by involving agricultural labourers, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes people, and small and marginal farmers were being taken up under the MNREGA, he said. The Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendras in villages would give information to farmers on every aspect of rural development programmes in the State.

The National Rural Livelihood Mission taken up through the MNREGA funds was aimed at poverty alleviation and empowering people with sustainable livelihood in the villages, Mr. Siddaramaiah said. The beneficiaries would be members of self-help groups, SC and ST people, BPL families, migrant labourers and former sex workers. Women would be encouraged to take up agriculture-based activities to help them become economically self-reliant, he said.

Construction of toilets

Under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan scheme, funds from the MNREGA would be utilised to construct toilets mandatorily in rural households, he announced. The government would take steps to construct six lakh individual toilets this year. Each beneficiary would have to contribute Rs. 800 while the MNREGA funds would amount to Rs. 4,500 and the State government would contribute Rs. 4,700, the Chief Minister said.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said the government would ensure supply of clean and safe drinking water to all people as it would be taken up on priority. To a query, he said power connections to the drinking water projects too would be given on priority. Admitting to the shortage in power generation, he said steps were on to generate 4,300 MW of power in the next three years.

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