Maharashtra earmarks Rs.3.5 bn for employment schemes

July 10th, 2008 - 8:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, July 10 (IANS) With the threat of a severe drought-cum-scarcity looming large, the Maharashtra government got into the act by earmarking Rs.3.5 billon to pay for various Employment Guarantee Schemes (EGS) across the state. Currently, 67,000 people are working under different employment guarantee schemes in the state, and it has a capacity to provide employment to five million more, state EGS Minister Harshavardhan Patil said here Thursday.

The announcement came a day after the state cabinet declared that 164 of the 355 talukas (sub-districts) in the state were hit by drought owing to scanty rainfall in some areas and totally dry spell in other - spelling bad news for politicians gearing up for the assembly elections next year.

Patil said in the wake of the scarcity-like situation, the government was initiating EGS works like water conservation, road construction, digging drains, small dams’ construction, social forestry projects and other schemes on “a war footing” for the people.

He said the past three years, the state had good rainfall so not many EGS works were launched. This year, however, since the situation is bad, the state EGS machinery has been activated fukll swing to serve people’s needs, Patil added.

Senior officials from the state government headquarters, Mantralaya, including principal secretary (EGS) Sunil Porwal, have been advised to maintain regular touch with all divisional commissioners and district collectors and keep the tab on the situation.

Patil will also convene a meeting of all guardian ministers in the next few days to review the situation and plan further measures to meet the scarcity situation.

Replying to a query, Patil said that since there were some complaints of persons employed under EGS not getting their wages, the government would henceforth directly credit the dues to the post office or bank accounts of the beneficiaries. The regular muster entry method will be continued only if required in cases where people do not have post office or bank accounts.

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