At the fourth meeting of NITI Aayog’s Governing Council on 17 June, 2018, the Prime Minister also constituted a Subgroup consisting of Chief Ministers of seven States viz. Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, and Sikkim and Member, NITI Aayog for policy coordination between agriculture sector and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) particularly in pre-sowing and post-harvest activities at the farmers’ fields. This was consequent to the discussions and concerned raised by Chief Ministers about rising cost of production in agriculture.
The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh is Convener of the Sub-Group. The Subgroup is serviced by Agriculture Vertical, NITI Aayog.
The First Meeting of Sub-Group was held on 12 July, 2018. Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh participated in the meeting in person. Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Nitish Kumar and Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Vijay Rupani joined in the deliberations through video conferencing. Shri N. Chandra Babu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Ms Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal sent their suggestions in writing to the Convenor of the Sub-group.
During the meeting, five critical areas in which MGNREGA could positively work were suggested. These were:
Reducing the cost of cultivation;
Enhancing the production through efficient use of water or other inputs;
Providing remunerative price to farmers by incentivising aggregation and market infrastructure;
Rehabilitating agricultural land and assets after natural hazards;
Re-planting using MGNREGA fund and bringing diversification in agriculture to help occupational diversification and maximising profit.
Besides, incentivising farm fencing to protect the farmer fields from wild animals was also suggested. All these issues were discussed in five regional workshops held at Patna, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Guwahati and New Delhi with experts, farmers and farmer’s representatives and other stakeholders along with State Governments.
The draft report has been submitted to Convener of the Subgroup.