The Centre for Rural Management (CRM), an autonomous research organisation based in Kottayam, which prepared a perspective plan for implementation of works under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in Idukki district, has laid stress on protecting the fragile eco-system, while allocating works with a view to alleviating poverty, protection of agriculture and rural infrastructure building.

The perspective plan was prepared as per the direction of the Commissionerate of Rural Development under the State government and the district administration while considering the special features of the district with a high level of both male and female worker participation.

A team from the CRM visited 53 grama panchayats, tribal settlements and public sectors for getting the basic data of the MGNREGA plan before preparing the plan.

The master plan, a copy of which was made available to The Hindu, focuses on sustainable development while laying stress protecting the farm sector, scientific land use and bio-mass production.

The development report of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation prepared for the district was mostly considered while preparing work allocation in the district. The agriculture and animal husbandry sectors are specifically included under the MGNREGA as suggested in the foundation's report. The plan also considered the economic condition of the district where 13.5 per cent constituting 34,335 households is in the below the poverty line category.

In the district, 2,04,882 families have been provided work card under the MGNREGA which included 13,014 Scheduled Tribe and 27,230 Scheduled Caste categories.

The labour projection for implementation was prepared in consideration of the work proportion in the areas in the past. It has taken Adimaly block as a model as a large number of workers were available during the non-cropping season of pepper and coffee, April-September.

As per the data available in the past year, Azhutha block had the highest cost and Thodupuzha the lowest. In Nedumkandam, Adimaly and Idukki more than the average cost of Rs 56,210.23 lakh was spent in the last financial year while Devikulam, Kattappana and Elamdesham spent less than the average cost.

In consideration of the special eco-system of the district, drought proofing and afforestation programmes have been included in the plan. Increased food production while giving importance to organic farming are given importance.

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