SHILLONG, June 23: Chief Minister Dr Mukul M Sangma on Friday iugurated the Conference of Village Employment Councils under MGNREGA at the NEHU here.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Sangma congratulated the VEC functiories for their committed service since the inception of MGNREGA in the State in 2006 and said that the occasion is also an opportunity to come together and celebrate their 10 years of partnership with the Government in the implementation of MGNREGA.
He also said that the MGNREGA represents our Constitutiol framework, because it enshrines democratic rights of the citizens in rural areas providing social security to the people.
The Chief Minister said that 60:40 ratio of the wage and material component under MGNREGA is an issue which poses difficulties for the VECs who have limited choice in their plans to create durable assets which involve high materials cost.
He informed that since 2016-2017 the government has earmarked Rs 5.00 lakhs each of Rural Constituencies under CMSRDF to utilize it in convergence with MGNREGS so that durable assets can be created.
Dr Sangma also said that there are challenges in payment of wages and to address these challenges when release of funds are delayed from the Government of India the state government had arranged corpus fund of Rs 37.00 crores under State Employment Guarantee Fund (SEGF) to mage shortage of wage payments which is being revolved every year.
He added that Meghalaya is one of the very few states in the country to make this ebling provision.
He also informed that Delayed Payment Compensation Rules is mandated under the Act and the department is notifying this now so that workers will get their dues.
The Chief Minister said that recently the government has started transferring the payments digitally to the accounts of the beneficiaries and he urged all VEC functiories to open bank accounts so that the benefits can be transferred to the respective accounts.
The Chief Minister also said that maintence cost of the VECs has been examined and the department has worked out to retain 1 % of the total project cost upto the maximum of Rs 15,000 by the VEC.
He expressed hope that this will help to meet the emergent costs such as travel expenses, stationeries etc. He also said that this would be enhanced to a maximum of 2 % of the total project cost upto maximum of Rs 20,000 by VEC.
He also said that the VEC model developed in the state is the best that is blended with the traditiol institutions and Meghalaya is one of the top performers in the country. The Chief Minister urged the VEC functiories to make all efforts to achieve the 100 days guaranteed wages and to supplement it with innovative and convergence efforts taking advantage of the fund available for material component.
He also said it is the responsibility of both the government and the VECs to infuse a sense of enthusiasm and commitment and shoulder the objective as a shared agenda.
The Chief Minister also distributed awards for Best Performing and Innovative VECs in Khasi and Jaintia Hills. He also distributed awards for Best Fair Price Shop and Wholesale dealers in the region.
A commemorative CD with the Theme Song for the occasion was also released by the Chief Minister during the function.
Dr Sangma also released the Livestock Mission Document during the occasion. The Livestock Mission is a convergence mission designed by Government of Meghalaya to create ecologically sustaible livelihood in the rural areas.