Gomati District in Tripura has successfully implemented MGNREGS through convergence model for generating sustainable livelihoods of its beneficiaries. Along with generating high levels of person-days (96.04) for 2014-15; the emphasis has been on convergence between departments.
There are basically three modes of Convergence: i) labour work under MGNREGS—material component under departmental programmes; ii) each work divided into two parts—one under MGNREGS, another under departmental programmes; iii) entire work under MGNREGS implemented by the Line Department, either before or after the departmental work (pre/post convergence).
Convergence in Gomati District has been across all 8 blocks through various departments like Forest, Agriculture, ARDD, ADC, Fisheries etc.
Gomati District is one of the most remote districts of the state. Of the 8 blocks of the District, Silacahari RD Block is the remotest. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people with variations in agriculture practices. The biggest challenge is to integrate all the cultivators into a scientific method of agriculture.
Genuine limitations were faced by the District Programme Coordinator (DM & Collector) and Programme Officer (BDO). These included: problem of timely allocation of fund; no specific age bar for the worker in the Act; less wage rate (in Tripura minimum wage rate for MGNREGS workers is R167 per day); and, disruption of works due to imposition of election code of conduct.
- Appropriate selection of beneficiaries (approval by GP/VC through fair process).
- Avoiding of responsibility by field functionaries of line departments.
- Regular conduct of Gram Sabhas.
- Psychological re-orientation – training and workshops.
The main objectives of the MGNREGS convergence with other Line Departments were meant to provide employment for rural population of the district; creation of durable assets; ensuring complete openness and ownership in the governance; ensuring sustainable development by developing the natural resources of land and water; and, providing an important role to the Panchayati Raj Institutions/Autonomous District Councils.
Government of Tripura had convened a state level workshop on convergence of MGNREGS with other schemes on 26 December 2013 under the guidance of MoRD, participated by all secretaries of Line Departments, DPCs & PRI members. A State Level Coordination Committee under the Chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary was formed. Similarly, Coordination Committees under the Chairmanship of DM & Collector and BDOs were formed.
Strategy adopted for Convergence in Gomati District included:
- Cluster approach, based on local requirements.
- Identification of priority sectors for Blocks/ GPs/VCs.
- Projects/action plan preparation.
- Coordination at district/block levels at stage of planning and release of fund.
- Sharing of resources.
- Convergence – financial, technical, manpower.
- Time bound action.
- Supervision and monitoring by implementing agency and departments.
Mostly rural women, who were fully dependent on the male members of the family, have become economically independent leading to women empowerment.
With convergence of Fishery Department, MGNREGS fund is being used to create big water bodies with pisciculture.
Riverbank plantation and roadside plantation, in convergence with Forest is also playing a great role in preventing pollution.
As Tripura is a hilly state, there is a scarcity of drinking water in the hilly areas in dry season. In such areas MGNREGA has created rainwater-harvesting structure to provide drinking water.