Following press release from ORF is interesting, not for the potential of 2nd Green Revolution (a much abused term) but for the indication that SRI technique is being pushed through NREGA, that too in wheat and other crops --HimanshuThakkar

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Press Release from Observer Research Foundation

 

‘NREGA HOLDS THE TRIGGER FOR 2ND GREEN REVOLUTION’

 

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 30: The Government hopes that the National Rural Employment Scheme and its work in the areas of water management and crop enhancement would lead the country to a second Green Revolution.

 

The hope was expressed today by the Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development, Dr. Rita Sharma, while inaugurating a conference on ‘NREGA for Water Management’ at Observer Research Foundation in Delhi.

 

“It may be a wild thought now. But the first Green Revolution came about as a result of very high water guzzling cropping systems from the irrigated regions of the country. But the NREGA holds the trigger for a second Green Revolution from the rain-fed areas, but using water conserving technologies and working with the smaller and poorer farmers while the first Revolution came from the big farmers,” Dr. Sharma said.

 

Explaining the role and scope of NREGA in water management, Dr. Sharma said the SRI (System of Rice Intensification) technique, being popularized by NREGA works, helps in crops enhancement while cutting the usage of water by one-third.

 

Dr. Sharma said now SRI technique is being used in the cultivation of wheat and other crops as well by the farmers themselves. And the significant productivity increases could be stimulated NREGA on the holdings of small and poor farmers and leading to another food revolution.

 

She said the Government provides highest priority to water conservation in the choice of works under NREGA and the nature of works undertaken is such that it leads to creation of ‘green jobs’.

 

Dr. Sharma said the expenditure on the NREGA is estimated to go up to Rs. 50,000 crore in 2009-10, giving employment to 5.5 crore rural people out of which 52 per cent are women. She said the average wage rate would also increase from the present Rs. 84 per day in the previous financial year to Rs. 89 in the current financial year.

 

She said the scheme increased the bargaining power of the rural people in the employment market, but some activist said it led to distortion in the wage market.

 

Dr. Sharma underlined the need for better convergence among the implementing agencies of the government and also the supply and demand side to achieve better impact. She said there is a need to make it more scientific and the optimal utilization of the funds.

 

However, analysts and activists drew a different picture of lack of proper planning, lack of training, lack of assessment of the quality of work done, lack of supervision, lack of proper knowledge leading to ill-conceived, hap-hazard planning, etc which hinder proper water management under the scheme.

 

Mr. Surendra Singh, former Cabinet Secretary who chaired the inaugural session, also drew the Government attention to better audit, proper training and capacity building to achieve better results. Noting that the demand for water in India would increase by 2.3 times more by 2025 according to the estimates of the Central Water Commission, he said stressed the need for a better management of water resources. He said ORF will do an indepth study to help enhance the effectiveness of the scheme.

 

The sessions were chaired by noted authority on water management, Dr. Ramaswamy R Iyer who said the UPA Government would be known in history for the NREGA and the RTI (Right to Information Act).

Ronald\'s team works with rice, a grain most Americans take for granted, but which is a matter of life and death to much of the world. Thanks to their efforts to breed a new, hardier variety of rice, millions of people may not go hungry. About half the world\'s population eats rice as a staple. Two-thirds of the diet of subsistence farmers in India and Bangladesh is made up entirely of rice. If rice crops suffer, it can mean starvation for millions. \"People [in the United States] think, well, if I don\'t have enough rice, I\'ll go to the store,\" said Ronald, a professor of plant pathology at UC-Davis. \"That\'s not the situation in these villages. They\'re mostly subsistence farmers. They don\'t have cars.\"
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