The committee constituted by the government to review the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) plans to recommend a substantial hike in the wages given for people employed under the scheme.

Former member of the Legislative Assembly M. Murali, who heads the committee, told The Hindu that one of the major suggestions that came up during the consultative meetings with representatives of grama panchayats was regarding wage hike.

Much support

At present a person enrolled for the scheme was provided Rs. 180 as wage and majority of panchayat heads favour a substantial hike in the amount considering the prevailing salary structure in the State, he said.

“We have to conduct sittings in a few more districts and after further deliberations the committee will submit its report to the government by the end of August,” Mr. Murali said.

Asset creation

Another major suggestion, which the committee plans to recommend, was with regard to creation of durable assets and to enhance the livelihood security of the households in rural areas.

After the initial deliberations, the committee was of the opinion that the workers enrolled under the scheme should be allowed to cultivate agricultural products in the fallow lands.

Under the present scheme of things, the workers can only make the fallow land cultivable but they are not allowed to grow products, he said.

The committee would urge the State government to seek the advice of the Union government in the creation of durable assets, he said adding that one of the suggestions that came forward was to link the MGNREGS work to the plan fund and engage the workers in cultivation either on the basis of group farming or lease farming methods.

If the methods are adopted, the workers and owner of the land would be able to share the value of the produce.

The committee also plans to recommend improving the auditing system and livelihood security of the MGNREGS workers by expanding the scope of work.