Livelihoods News

New Delhi;  The rural development ministry is preparing for a big push to its flagship employment  generation programme asdrought  has depressed demand for farm labour.  The ministry has written to state governments asking them to identify development projects under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) to ensure there's enough work available for those in need.  "We expect demand for work and wages to go up in the coming months and are preparing for it.

The absence of rain has unleashed a torrent of gallows humour in a remote village in the drought-prone district of Jalna. In Shahapur, the quip of this parched season is: The destruction of the kharif crop that makes up three-quarters of Jalna’s agricultural land is absolute by the beginning of August. Farmers in Ambad tehsil (of which Shahapur is a part) hope to get by the lone surviving Bajra crop as they find themselves caught in a lethal web of despair. “Our cash crops have been burnt by the sun...

Small and marginal farmers, who constitute more 75 per cent of the total number of farmers in the State, have been hit hard by the skyrocketing prices of all types of fertilizers in the ongoing kharif season.

The Centre on Tuesday unveiled the expanded version of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, allowing over 30 new permissible works, as productivity-enhancing activity. The gram panchayats alone have been empowered to decide on the priority of work to be taken up.

A radically improved version of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) expanding the schedule of work under the rural job scheme to enhance productivity in 30 areas including watershed related works, agriculture, livestock, fisheries and sanitation has come into force on Tuesday.

Malabai Solankar has been waiting since six a.m. on Saturday to collect fodder at a makeshift depot in Sordi village in Sangli's Jath taluka. Now well past noon, she is struggling to not to lose her patience, as are others gathered there. Located on the Maharashtra border, Sordi is part of 41 villages that have been threatening to push for merger with neighbouring Karnataka if the Maharashtra government fails to provide relief in view of the current drought.

Internet revolution has bypassed rural India with less than half a per cent of families having the facility at home as against 6 per cent in cities, reveals a government survey. “At all India level only about 0.4 per cent of rural households had access to Internet at home as compared to about 6 per cent of urban households,” said the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) report on expenditure in 2009-10.

About 5000 elderly people will stage a dharna at Jantar Mantar here from May 7 to May 11 demanding universal old-age pension for all those above 55 years. They are mobilised by social rights activists under the banner of Pension Parishad.

According to a report published recently, India has the highest number of deaths due to premature births, and ranks 36th in the list of pre-term births globally. The ranking included 199 countries. Of the 27 million babies born in India annually (2010 figure), 3.6 million are born prematurely, of which 303,600 don't survive due to complications.

Scientists at the Centre say as the earth’s climate changes, farmers need resilient crops to produce well under drought, floods, high winds and other extreme weather conditions.

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