A monitoring cell has been constituted in the Rural Development Ministry to monitor preparedness of states for anticipated drought under ambitious rural job scheme, officials said.

It has directed the states to send fortnightly reports on the works taken up under MNREGA during the next three months in order to minimise the adverse effects of possible drought like situation in view of weak monsoon.

The Ministry has said that under MNREGA, the states can take up works including renovation of traditional water bodies including desilting of irrigation tanks and other water bodies and water conservation and water harvesting structures.

It has also allowed micro and minor irrigation works and creation, renovation and maintenance of irrigation canals and drains and drought proofing works such as avenue plantation, development of barren/fallow lands, nursery raising, etc under MNREGA.

The Ministry has asked the states to nominate an officer in the state Rural Development Ministry office as the nodal officer for the purpose of sending fortnightly reports on the works taken up under MNREGA during the next three months.

The Centre's directive comes amidst reports of acute water shortage in many parts of the country due to the deficient rainfall in the wet season.

According to a private forecasting agency, the national cumulative average for rainfall in June is deficient by a whopping 42 per cent, making it only the 12th instance in the past 113 years when the shortfall has been over 30 per cent in the month.

States like Gujarat and Rajasthan are facing an over 80 per cent rainfall deficit.


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