Involve national rural jobs guarantee scheme for encouraging millet production

Reproduced below is a letter by Paryavaran Mitra’s Mahesh Pandya to Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Government of India, suggesting for advancement of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNRGS) by encouraging millet production: Paryavaran Mitra, an Ahmedabad-based NGO, as the environ-legal unit of Janvikas, was initiated in 1997 on environmental issues that have an impact on the human rights of people, especially marginalized communities.
Towards this, Paryavaran Mitra’s approach has been to monitor implementation of environmental law meant for industries and take up issues of human rights and injustice caused by industrial and government development projects, policy advocacy and creating awareness and building capacities of local organizations and community-based leaders.
We have actively listened to the Prime Minister’s debate and views about NREGS in Parliament especially on March 3, 2015 in Lower House of Parliament. As per government record and as illustrated in his speech only 6.35% have got employment in year 2013-2014. He has aptly highlighted the lacunae and missing links in NREGS.
We are convinced that the government shall take steps to plug those gaps and shall work towards compliance to the Act; we would like to propose following suggestions:
Dovetail Millet cultivation with MNERGA
As per Annual Report 2013-2014 published by Department of Agriculture and Cooperation and Report “State of Indian Agriculture 2012-2013” millet acreage and arable land has gown down. As you are aware, millet is important source of Protein and plays crucial role malnutrition containment. It is also used as key ingredient in Mid Day Meal. Some states have provisioned millet distribution via PDS. Millet being drought and climate change resilient and resistant crop will help in accomplishing goals of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture.
Thus we suggest government to include millet cultivation as employment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). It shall enable to
  • Increase millet production and reduce import
  • Self sustainability and reliance to Indian farmers
  • Arrest malnutrition and hunger
  • Relatively assured and continuous source of income to Marginal farmers
Biodiversity and NREGS
The Indian Biodiversity Act, 2002 has enabled People Biodiversity Register to realize biodiversity at local self-government level, states and the whole country. Identification of biological resources and documentation is one of the prerequisites of the register preparation which can lead to new discoveries and development of new commercial products, patenting of such products, equitable distribution of benefits, if any, and through this, paving the way for a new economic order in the country through biodiversity conservation.
This activity has not been able to achieve its desired goals. We therefore suggest to include creating, maintaining and updating of the People Biodiversity Register for employment under NREGS. This will enable government to achieve following
  • Strengthen traditional knowledge and support grass root innovation
  • Ensure that MNCs do not collude and conniving and do not benefit from Local innovation
  • Provide one stop solution for Biodiversity registry
  • Livelihood and job to local people who shall act as messenger of Biodiversity and help in creating awareness
We request you to look into these suggestions for cherishing of aims and objective of MNERGA. We are willing to help you to our fullest capacity towards furtherance of this cause. We shall also be available for personal discussion any time.

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