Now, MGNREGA to promote govt's 'green agenda'

Realising their "immense potential", government is planning to use rural development schemes like MGNREGA as a vehicle to promote green agenda.

According to strategies suggested in a report released today by the Rural Development Ministry for inclusive rural development, the Ministry should have a dedicated green cell to enable it to guide environmental friendly objectives through various schemes in villages and allow institutions to adopt "creative and innovative approaches" to meet them.

The report "Greening Rural Development in India", prepared with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), assumes significance in the light of the 12th Five Year Plan, which has as its objective, "faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth".

It was released jointly by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Ahluwalia, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan at a press conference here.

Ramesh said with an annual budget of around Rs 75,000 crore, the Rural Development Ministry's Schemes have an immense potential to contribute to the goal of sustainable poverty reduction and efficient use of natural resources.

The report recommends that the Ministry identify a set of green outcomes and prepare green guidelines that include a set of non-negotiation principles.

The findings also call for "greater flexibility" so that people and institutions adopt "creative and innovative approaches" to achieving green outcomes.

A support organisation formed through designated civil society can facilitate implementation of green guidelines.

"A dedicated Green Cell would enable the Ministry to guide the greening agenda and implementation of guidelines," the report said also recommending "an annual Green Report by the Ministry to summarise major green achievements and outcomes during the year."

Ramesh said that each of the Ministry's schemes needs to incorporate a set of green objectives in its implementation and make delivery of green results a part of policy and guidelines.

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