NCS - MGREGA Report
Organized by the National Consortium on SRI (NCS)
Date: January 13, 2012 , Venue: Council for Social Development, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh released here a report, authored by Planning Commission member Mihir Shah, suggesting revision of the guidelines to strengthen the job entitlement programme that has run into rough weather of late. The new avatar of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, coming into existence on April 1, will allow farmers who qualify for support under MGNREGS to hire hands for eight man-days per acre for transplantation and for another four man-days at two intervals for weeding. Increasing soil fatigue, degradation, excessive usage of precious water (both surface and ground) coupled with stagnant productivity have become a concern for sustainable national food security. Paddy cultivation is the single biggest consumer of water in India. Against this background, the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has emerged as a potential alternative promising yield enhancement with over 30% savings in water, 75% savings in seed and improvement in soil quality and soil biota. Also, transition to SRI may enable continued absorption of human labour.
SRI involves change in the agronomic methods in transplanting single seedlings early (8 to 14 days age / two leaves stage), followed by alternate wetting and drying irrigation and mechanical weeding. This involves new skills both for farmers and labour, whereby timeliness of the operations is extremely crucial. SRI involves changes in the management system in rice production mainly in the areas of transplantation and weeding. Each farmer (qualifying for support under MGNREGA) willing to try out SRI will be eligible for
8 person-days of work per acre for one-time transplantation;
2 person-days of work per acre for weeding at 10 to 15 days after transplantation and
2 person-days of work per acre for weeding at 20 to 30 days after transplantation. Those farmers who continue with SRI will be eligible for this support for a maximum of 3 years. This activity will be permissible under MGNREGA for a period of 5 years only in those blocks that take a decision to adopt SRI by declaring themselves as “SRI block” after putting in place the necessary support systems for SRI. Selection within each GP will be made only from those households eligible under MGNREGA for work on private land.
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