MGNREGA

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), also known as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) is Indian legislation enacted on August 25, 2005.

The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Govt of India is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in
association with state governments

This act was introduced with an aim of improving the purchasing power of the rural people, primarily semi or un-skilled work
to people living below poverty line in rural India. It attempts to bridge the gap between the rich and poor in the country.
Roughly one-third of the stipulated work force must be women.

Adult members of rural households submit their name, age and address with photo to the Gram Panchayat. The Gram Panchayat registers households after making enquiry and issues a job card. The job card contains the details of adult member enrolled and his /her photo. Registered person can submit an application for work in writing (for at least fourteen days of continuous work) either to Panchayat or to Programme Officer.

The Panchayat/Programme officer will accept the valid application and issue dated receipt of application, letter providing work will be sent to the applicant and also displayed at Panchayat office. The employment will be provided within a radius of 5 km: if it is above 5 km extra wage will be paid.

KEY FACTS THAT USERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MNREGA

1. The MGNREGA provides a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to adult members
of any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage.

2.ndividual beneficiary oriented works can be taken up on the cards of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, small or
marginal farmers or beneficiaries of land reforms or beneficiaries under the Indira Awaas Yojana of the Government of India.
3. Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the
applicant.

4. Right to get unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within fifteen days of submitting the application
or from the date when work is sought.

5. Receipt of wages within fifteen days of work done.

6. Variety of permissible works which can be taken up by the Gram Panchayaths.
7. MGNREGA focuses on the economic and social empowerment of women.
8. MGNREGA provides “Green” and “Decent” work.
9. Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory, which lends to accountability and transparency.
10.MGNREGA works address the climate change vulnerability and protect the farmers from such risks and conserve natural
resources.
11.The Gram Sabha is the principal forum for wage seekers to raise their voices and make demands. It is the Gram Sabha and
the Gram Panchayat which approves the shelf of works under MGNREGA and fix their priority.

IMPLEMENTATION STATUS

The scheme was introduced in 200 districts during financial year 2006-07 and 130 districts during the financial year 2007-08

In April 2008 NREGA expanded to entire rural area of the country covering 34 States and Union Territories, 614 Districts,
6,096 Blocks and 2.65 lakhs Gram Panchayat.

The scheme now covers 648 Districts, 6,849 Blocks and 2,50,441 Gram Panchayats in the financial year 2015-16.


RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MAHATMA GANDHI NREGA AND MAHATMA GANDHI
NREGS

MAHATMA GANDHI NREGAMAHATMA GANDHI NREGS
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (Mahatma Gandhi NREGA) is the foundation for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme Mahatma Gandhi NREGS) and provides guaranteed employmentThe Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (Mahatma Gandhi NREGS), created as directed in Mahatma Gandhi NREGA and the means to implement the Act so that the guarantee comes into effect
The Central Government specified the features and conditions for guaranteed employment in Mahatma Gandhi NREGA 2005The State Governments have to incorporate all features of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA in the State Mahatma Gandhi NREGS as mentioned in Schedule –I and condition of employment as mentioned in Schedule-II of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA
The Central Government has powers to make rules and to amend Mahatma Gandhi NREGAThe State Governments have powers to make rules and amend the concerned State scheme
Mahatma Gandhi NREGA has been notified through the Gazette of India Extraordinary notification and is National legislationMahatma Gandhi NREGS of a State has been notified through the Official Gazette of concerned State
Mahatma Gandhi NREGA was notified on 7thSeptember 05Different States have notified Mahatma Gandhi NREGS on different dates but within a year of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA notification

ACTIVITIES COVERED UNDER MGNREGA

Permissible activities as stipulated in Para 1 of Schedule-I of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA are as under:

Union Rural Development Ministry has notified works under MGNREGA, majority of which are related to agricultural and allied activities, besides the works that will facilitate rural sanitation projects in a major way.

The works have been divided into 10 broad categories like Watershed, Irrigation and Flood management works, Agricultural and Livestock related works, Fisheries and works in coastal areas and the Rural Drinking water and Sanitation related works.

Briefing the MGNREGA 2.0 (the second generation reforms for the rural job scheme) the priority of the works will be decided by the Gram Panchayats in meetings of the Gram Sabhas and the Ward Sabhas.

The Rural development also informed that the 30 new works being added in the Schedule 1 will also help the  Rural sanitation projects, as for the first time toilet building, soak pits and solid and liquid waste management have been included under MGNREGA. Though the overall 60:40 ratio of labour and material component will be maintained at the Gram Panchayat level but there will be some flexibility in the ratio for certain works based on the practical requirements.

Construction of AWC building has been included as an approved activity under the MGNREG Act. ‘Guidelines for construction of Anganwadi Centres’ under MGNREGS have been issued jointly by Secretary, WCD and Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, on 13th August, 2015. Under MGNREGS, expenditure up to Rs.5 lakh per AWC building for construction will be allowed. Expenditure beyond Rs. 5 lakh per AWC including finishing, flooring, painting, plumbing, electrification, wood work, etc. will be met from the ICDS funds.

NSO GROUP

NSO Group Technologies (NSO standing for Niv, Shalev and Omri, the names of the company’s founders) is an Israeli technology firm primarily known for its proprietary spyware Pegasus, which is capable of remote zero-click surveillance of smartphones. It was founded in 2010 by Niv Karmi, Omri Lavie, and Shalev Hulio It employed almost 500 people as of 2017, and is based in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, Israel.

NSO Group is a subsidiary of the Q Cyber Technologies group of companies. Q Cyber Technologies is the name the NSO Group uses in Israel, OSY Technologies in Luxembourg, and in North America it has a subsidiary formerly known as Westbridge. It has operated through other companies around the world.

According to several reports, software created by NSO Group was used in targeted attacks against human rights activists and journalists in various countries was used in state espionage against Pakistan and played a role in the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi by agents of the Saudi government. In October 2019, instant messaging company WhatsApp and its parent company Meta Platforms (then known as Facebook) sued NSO and Q Cyber Technologies under the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). NSO claims that it provides authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime.

The Pegasus spyware is classified as a weapon by Israel and any export of the technology must be approved by the government.

SHUTTERBUG LEADS TO A PRETTY FIND IN SIKKIM

Shubashree Desikan Chennai Chocolatebordered Flitter, new butterfly species discovered by chance via photos

When Sonam Wangchuk Lepcha, from Dzongu in north Sikkim, started watching butterflies has led to the discovery of a
new butterfly species, whose closest relatives are in south¬eastern China, close to Hong Kong.

Mr. Wangchuk Lepcha has been in the habit of photographing butterflies and sending their pictures to entomologists based
at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, to identify and upload them on to the ‘Butterflies of India’
website they maintain. In 2020, he contributed the picture of a golden yellow butterfly with brown borders and spots.

The new species ofbutterfly, now named the Chocolate¬bordered Flitter, also carries the scientific name Zographetus
dzonguensis, after Dzongu in north Sikkim, the place where it was discovered. Its closest relatives are Zographetus pangi in
Guangdong, and Zographetus hainanensis in Hainan, both in southeastern China, close to Hong Kong, says Dr. Krushnamegh
Kunte of NCBS. The physical appearance of the species differ slightly and the internal structures of the males also differ
slightly. The details were published in a paper in Zootaxa on December 1 .

DAM SAFETY BILL

MAIN OBJECTIVE

The Bill proposes to help all states and Union Territories adopt uniform dam safety procedures. It provides for the
surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of all specified dams across the country. These are dams with height
more than 15 metres, or height between 10 metres to 15 metres with certain design and structural conditions.

As of 2019, India has 5,745 large dams. Of these, 5,675 large dams are operated by states, 40 by central public sector
undertakings, and five by private agencies. Over 75% of these dams are more than 20 years old and about 220 dams are
more than 100 years old.

Due to the lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is an issue of concern. Unsafe
dams are a hazard and dam break may cause disasters, leading to huge loss of life and property. Therefore, monitoring
dam safety is essentia

NATIONAL COMMITTEES

The Bill constitutes two national bodies: the National Committee on Dam Safety, whose functions include evolving
policies and recommending regulations regarding dam safety standards; and the National Dam Safety Authority, whose
functions include implementing policies of the National Committee, providing technical assistance to State Dam Safety
Organisations (SDSOs), and resolving matters between SDSOs of states or between a SDSO and any dam owner in that
state.


STATE BODIES

It also constitutes two state bodies: State Committee on Dam Safety, and State Dam Safety Organisation. These bodies
will be responsible for the surveillance, inspection, and monitoring the operation and maintenance of dams within their
jurisdiction.

The state dam safety organisation must also report events such as dam failures to the National Dam Safety Authority and
also maintain records of major dam incidents of each specified dam.

Functions of the national bodies and the State Committees on Dam Safety have been provided in Schedules to the
Bill. These Schedules can be amended by a government notification.

PENALTIES

 An offence under the Bill can lead to imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine, or both

UAE BUYS RECORD 80 RAFALE JETS FOR €14 BILLION

The United Arab Emirates signed a record €14billion contract for 80 Rafale warplanes and committed billions of euros in other deals as French
President Emmanuel Macron kicked off a West Asia tour on Friday. The biggest international order ever made for the
French jets came as Mr. Macron held talks with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed at the start of a
twoday trip which will also take in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The resourcerich UAE, one of the French defenceindustry’s biggest customers, also inked an order for 12 Caracal military transport helicopters for a total bill of more than €17 billion. The Emirates was the fifth biggest customer for the French defence industry with €4.7 billion euros from 2011 -2020, according to a parliamentary report. France has faced criticism after some of these weapons were used during the UAE’s engagement in Yemen, where a Saudiled coalition is fighting Iranbacked rebels in a war that has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

LONGEST MIGRATION ROUTE OF LESSER FLORICAN FROM RAJASTHAN TRACKED

In a major discovery, the longest incountry migration route of lesser floricans, the endangered birds of the bustard group, has been tracked for the first time from Rajasthan to Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district. The mystery of the fast disappearing birds may soon be resolved with the help of satellite transmitters fitted on them.

The telemetry exercise was undertaken in the Shokaliya landscape of Ajmer district to trace the journey of lesser floricans from their breeding grounds to their places of origin, presumably in down South. Following initial failures, the scientific experiment has succeeded in locating a bird which travelled a distance of 1,000 km after breeding during the monsoon. Lesser florican, taxonomically classified as Sypheotides indicus, is a small and slender bird species belonging to the bustard group, found in tall grasslands, for which Dehradunbased Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has launched a recovery programme.

The endangered bird is observed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and some other regions during the monsoon season, when it breeds and later disappears with its chicks to unknown places. The bird is listed as “critically endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and its population has been identified as “decreasing”. The experiment for fitting the U.S.made satellite transmitters with solarpowered batteries was taken up near Shokaliya village in Ajmer district’s Bhinai tehsil.

1 ,000 km journey The latest instance of migration detection is that of a male lesser florican which took a zigzag flight from Shokaliya and has passed through Shevgaon tehsil, west of Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, covering a distance of 1,000 km from its breeding ground.

CORRIDORS OF DEATH ELEPHANTS ARE VICTIMS OF TRAIN COLLISIONS AND ELECTRIC FENCES IN RISING MANANIMAL CONFLICTS

The death of five elephants, four of them cows, caused by trains colliding with them, and all within a week, has again highlighted the gaps in efforts to reduce man-animal conflicts in the country. On November 26, the first accident occurred near Madukkarai in Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu that has seen many an elephant death on a rail track stretch that extends up to Kanjikode, Kerala.

The second accident was near Jagiroad in Assam’s Morigaon district, four days later. Both accidents were at night. Elephant deaths in railway accidents are not new in India. A reply by the Project Elephant division of the Union Ministry of 9 | P a g e Environment, Forest and Climate Change in May to a set of RTI questions highlighted reasons other than natural causes as having led to the killing of 1,160 elephants over 11 years ending December 2020; 741 deaths were due to electrocution; railway accidents accounted for 186 cases; poaching 169 and poisoning 64. The pattern of train accidents involving elephants has been studied by different stakeholders, including the Railways, Forest and Wildlife Departments and activists, especially with regard to the Madukkarai stretch. That a greater number of casualties getting reported are in elephant passages has been confirmed by the C&AG in its latest compliance audit report on the Ministry of Railways.

There are effective solutions in the case of two causes: electrocution and train hits. Installing hanging solarpowered fences, as has been planned in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and planting citronella and lemon grass, as done in Golaghat district, Assam, to deter elephants are some of the largescale options. The authorities should ensure that there are no illegal electric fences or barbed wire fences, which, instead, can be replaced with the solar powered ones. Needless to say, the participation of local communities is crucial. The critical role elephants play in biodiversity conservation must be highlighted, especially to those living in areas close to elephant corridors.

The Environment Ministry and Ministry of Railways should also expedite proposals for elevated wildlife crossings or ecobridges and underpasses for the safe passage of animals. A finding of the C&AG was that after the construction of underpasses and overpasses in the areas under the jurisdiction of East Central and Northeast Frontier Railways, there was no death reported.

The authorities should also expedite other recommendations made by the C&AG such as a periodic review of identification of elephant passages, more sensitisation programmes for railway staff, standardisation of track signage, installation of an animal detection system (transmitter collars) and ‘honey bee’ sound-emitting devices near all identified elephant passages. Of the 29,964 elephants in India, nearly 14,580 are in the southern region, and the State governments concerned and the Centre need to find lasting solutions to the problem of man-animal conflicts.

COP27, IN EGYPT, MUST FOCUS ON FOOD SYSTEMS

In any reimagination of food systems, now unequal and strained, the world has to factor in climate chang
e adaptation

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) held in Glasgow between October 31 and November 12, 2021 with a huge gathering, generating headlines, criticisms, and some commitments. Governments did commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and put forth a recordshattering U.S.$356 million in new support from contributing national and regional governments to protect the most vulnerable. But this is not enough to stay below the limit of 2°C above preindustrial levels. COP26 fell far short of the groundbreaking success many had hoped for. “Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread… It is time to go into emergency mode or our chance of reaching netzero will itself be zero,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres. He added that we must “build the resilience of vulnerable communities against the here and now impacts of climate change. And make good on the $100 billion climate finance commitment to support developing countries.

” CLIMATE CRISIS AND HUNGER”

The agenda of ending world hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030 is facing formidable challenges as the climate crisis and hunger are linked inextricably, and that along with several major drivers have put the world off track. This has been more so after the COVID 19 pandemic has doubled the population under chronic hunger from 130 million to 270 million. Analysis by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) shows that a 2°C rise in average global temperature from preindustrial levels will see a staggering 189 million additional people in the grip of hunger. Vulnerable communities, a vast majority of whom rely on subsistence agriculture, fishing, and livestock and, who contribute the least to the climate crisis, will continue to bear the brunt of the impacts with limited means to cushion the blow. The absence of social protection measures such as food safety nets forces the food insecure to depend on humanitarian aid for survival. Across the world, up to 811 million people do not have enough food and as per the recent WFP estimates, 41 million people in 43 countries are at risk of sliding into famine. The poor and the vulnerable continue to be hardest hit. Even though they contribute least to greenhouse gas emissions, people in lowincome countries face the worst impacts. The top 10 most food-insecure countries contribute 0.08% of global carbon emissions. Crop failures, water scarcity, and declining nutrition threaten millions who rely on agriculture, fishing, and livestock (it must be reiterated that they are those who contribute the least to the climate crisis). The climate crisis will impact food production and livelihoods but also, as per the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, threaten nutrition through multi-breadbasket failures.

ADAPTATION IS URGENT

ADAPTATION AND RESILIENCE building for poor and vulnerable communities are critical for food security. The focus though has been on reducing emissions and targets related as these are essential to protect livelihoods and the food security of millions. In its outcome document, the conference took note of how climate and weather extremes and their adverse impacts on people and nature will continue to increase with rising temperatures. There is a strong emphasis on the urgency of scaling up action and support, including finance, capacity¬building, and technology transfer, to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change in line with the best available science, and considering the priorities and needs of developing country parties. Significantly, the statement welcomes the national adaptation plans that deepen the understanding and implementation of adaptation actions and priorities. This is an area where India has a huge role to play with its ongoing and now substantial policy work at the national and State levels. The outcome document also extends an invitation to the IPCC to present at the COP27 (in Egypt) the findings from the contribution of Working Group II to its Sixth Assessment Report, including adaptation needs to further the understanding of global, regional, and local impacts of climate change, response options, and adaptation need

ADAPTATION FINANCE

The recent pledges made by the developed countries on enhancing climate finance to support adaptation in developing countries to adjust to worsening climate crisis impacts were welcomed in the outcome document from COP26. It observed that the contributions made to the Adaptation Fund and the Least Developed Countries Fund, represent significant progress when compared with previous efforts. The current climate finance for adaptation and base of stakeholders remain insufficient to respond to worsening climate change impacts. “(COP) calls upon multilateral development banks, other financial institutions, and the private sector to enhance finance mobilization to deliver the scale of resources needed to achieve climate plans, particularly for adaptation, and encourages Parties to continue to explore innovative approaches and instruments for mobilizing finance for adaptation from private sources.” Mr. Guterres, at an emergency summit in Milan, Italy, at the end of September, had called for funding for developing nations, 50% for adaptation and resilience to the climate crisis. He said, “Adaptation needs are increasing every year.” “Developing countries already need $70 billion for adaptation, and that figure could more than quadruple to $300 billion a year by the end of this decade.” The WFP is working with communities to adapt to the changing climate that threatens their ability to grow food, secure incomes, and withstand shocks. It has supported 39 governments, helping them realise their national climate ambitions. In 2020, the WFP implemented 12 | P a g e climate risk management solutions in 28 countries, which benefited more than six million people so that they are better prepared for climate shocks and stresses and can recover faster. In India, the WFP and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry are planning to develop a best practice model on adaptation and mitigation with potential support from the Adaptation Fund. Here are a few key areas or measures we should focus on. First, creating resilient livelihoods and food security solutions by protecting and improving the livelihood of vulnerable communities. Second, the adaptation of climate-resilient food crops, such as millets, for nutritional security. Third, enabling women’s control and ownership of production processes and assets and increased value addition and local solutions. Fourth, promoting a resilient agriculture sector by creating sustainable opportunities, access to finance, and innovation for smallholder farmers, with climate information and preparedness. Fifth, building capacity and knowledge of civil society and governments for vulnerability analysis to increase food security by addressing the link between food security and climate risk

FIXING BROKEN FOOD SYSTEMS

The climate crisis impacts all parts of the global food system from production to consumption. It destroys land and crops, kills livestock, depletes fisheries, and cuts off transport to markets. This impacts food production, availability, diversity, access, and safety. At the same time, food systems impact the environment and are a driver of climate change. COP26 came after the pioneering UN Food Systems Summit in September, which was a wakeup call that food systems are unequal, strained, or broken as 811 million people are going to bed hungry. The United Nations Special Envoy for Food Systems Summit, Agnes Kalibata, has called for an unprecedented focus on food systems food and agriculture by ensuring that COP27 has a dedicated focus on this. Reimagining food systems requires us to look at food systems through the prism of climate change adaptation and mitigation, which must also entail making them resilient to climate change and pandemics while making them green and sustainable. We are on the cusp of transformation to make the world free of hunger by 2030 and deliver promises for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with strong cooperation and partnership between governments, citizens, civil society organisations, and the private sector. This requires reimagining the food system towards balancing growth and sustainability, mitigating climate change, ensuring healthy, safe, quality, and affordable food, with investment from governments and the private sector in supporting farmers while maintaining biodiversity, improving resilience, and offering attractive income and work environment to smallholders and youth.

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