The Centre has turned down the State government's proposal for a recess to the implementation of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) during agricultural season.

The State government took up the issue with the Centre in view of concerns expressed by the farm sector over the non-availability of sufficient labour for agricultural operations.

The reason adduced by the sector is that a substantial work force which would, otherwise, have been available for the agricultural work, takes up MGNREGS works.

An official said that the Centre did not agree with this reasoning as no person was prevented from going for agricultural work. Moreover, when the agricultural work was likely to fetch higher wages, those genuinely interested would take to it.

Another factor that weighed with the Central authorities, according to the official, was that an amendment had to be made to the law governing the scheme, if the proposal were to be seriously considered.

Within its powers, the State government had made a significant change in the implementation of the scheme by permitting more than one work in a village panchayat. Earlier, only one work was allowed in each village panchayat. The government is all set to permit the execution of MGNREGS works in private agricultural lands.

A team of officials had visited Kerala to study a similar arrangement, the official said.