The Ministry of Rural Development has issued a clarification at the behest of several States for creation of greater durable assets in the rural areas under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employee Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

“Based on the request of several states to allow flexibility in the wage: material norm of MGNREGS so as to facilitate creation of durable assets. I have got the matter examined,” stated a letter from Jairam Ramesh, Ministry of Rural Development to all States’ Chief Ministers.

One of the biggest challenges of the programme remains productive asset creation. Though the primary objective of NREGA is livelihood security, it is modelled to create assets in the countryside to enhance soil productivity and water availability thereby decreasing the dependency on the programme itself.

Expanding on the wage material ratio between the Gram Panchayat and block level, the letter stated: I have directed the Ministry to issue a clarification that the wage material ratio shall be maintained at the Gram Panchayat level for 50 per cent of works, the wage material ratio needs to be maintained at the block level.

This clarification shall aid allocation financial resources under MGNREGA, which would allow greater flexibility at the state level for creating durable infrastructure in the rural areas.

Mr. Ramesh noted States’ approved labour budget in terms of person-days and funding that will be made available to support livelihoods under the Operational Guidelines 2013 of MGNREGS.

Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are amongst the States have been granted the highest amounts of funds ‘for taking up durable assets at the block level that support livelihoods’.