Modi govt says drought-hit farmers to get 150 days of MGNREGA jobs

New Delhi(Indilens web team): In order to mitigate sufferings of farmers hit by drought or a natural calamity, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to provide 150 days of jobs to the rural poor instead of 100 days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA).

Indian farmer

Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who briefed the media on the Cabinet decisions, said this additional wage employment in drought-affected areas will help the poorest households to reduce the rural distress.

He also listed 11 other steps taken by the government as an immediate relief to farmers in the areas hit by the deficit monsoon.

These include diesel subsidy for irrigation to farmers in affected areas, costing Rs100 crore, to protect the standing crops, ceiling on seed subsidy hiked by 50%, grant of Rs 6,000 per hectare to safe perennial horticulture crops costing Rs150 crore, assitance of Rs3200 crore for production of additional fodder that will cost Rs50 crore, flexibility in annocations from the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna and a crop contingency plan.

The state governments have been already advised to initiate remedial measures like water harvesting under MGNREGA and other schemes, promotion of less water consumig crops and carry out periodic assessment of preparations for the kharif crops.

Other decisions taken by the Cabinet include:
Approval to promulgate the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance on jurisdiction of courts in case of the dishonoured cheques to negate a Supreme Court ruling;

Authorisation to EXIM Bank as also other banks to offer concessional finance to the Indian companies bidding for strategically important infrastructure projects abroad as they are otherwise not able to win such contracts because of a higher cost of finance in India; and

Creation of posts of director of four new national institutes of design (NIDs) to be set up on the pattern of Ahmedabad NID at Bhopal, Vijayawada, Kurukshetra and Jorhat.