All works under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) will be allowed from April 20, the central government said today. This was announced as part of the new lockdown guidelines issued by the Union Home Ministry.
The announcement comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address to the nation said the government has decided to extend the nationwide lockdown to May 3 to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus in the country.
India has been under lockdown since March 25. In his Tuesday address, PM Modi said while the lockdown will continue till May 3, certain relaxations will be provided to farmers, daily wagers and others from April 20 after assessing the ground situation in each region.
According to the guidelines issued today, though MGNREGA works will be allowed from April 20, but this will only under the condition that there is a strict implementation of social distancing and that people wear face masks.
The guidelines say under MGNREGA, priority should be given to works that are related to irrigation and water conservation.
“Other central and state sector schemes in irrigation and water conservation sector may also be allowed to be implemented and suitably dovetailed with MGNREGA works,” the guidelines say.
This announcement comes at a time when millions of daily wage earners across the country have been rendered jobless because of the nationwide lockdown which imposes severe restrictions on travel, work, and business.
Meanwhile, the total number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by a novel coronavirus, in India touched 11,439 on Wednesday morning. Of these, 1,306 have recovered so far while 377 have died.
(With inputs from India today)