New Delhi : Union Minister for Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar has said that the people residing in the country's villages are very aware about the measures that should be followed and adopted for the prevention of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and all attention is being given to screening to quarantine those returning to the villages.
There is a possibility of virus infection spreading to the villages, especially with the migrant labourers returning home from the cities, but Tomar, during a conversation with IANS, said that awareness on the coronavirus outbreak in the villages has increased and to deal with this crisis, all the precautionary measures have been taken by the Panchayats.
The Minister of Panchayati Raj said that people returning home are being screened and quarantined in schools and other facilities.
Asked about the role of the Panchayati Raj institutions in the prevention of coronavirus infection in villages, Tomar told IANS: "Precautionary measures are being managed by the district administration, but the Panchayati Raj institutions also have a role in this, especially when persons reach the village. They are being screened and then quarantined."
He said that right from the Sarpanch to the Panchayat secretary, and the ASHA workers, all are playing an important role.
The outbreak of coronavirus has slowed down the economic activity in the urban areas, impacting the livelihood of migrant workers, but farming in the villages has been underway since the first phase of nationwide lockdown. This is the reason that a large number of migrant labourers are returning home from cities and industrial locations.
Despite the continuation of all economic activities, including harvesting and sowing of crops in the villages, the two-yard rules are being followed as a precautionary measure.
Asked about the burden on the Gram Panchayats, Tomar said: "Panchayats will definitely be burdened, but we are releasing the funds of the 15th Finance Commission to the panchayats and if the new situation is added to the development projects, things will improve. "
He said that people in villages are returning to their homes and those who do not have a house, the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojana will take care of them.
"People are returning to their villages and those who do not have a house are getting the benefit of the Grameen Awas Yojana, and those who do not have work are getting work under the MGNREGA."
The Central government has recently allocated an additional amount of Rs 40,000 crore for schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act i.e. MGNREGA. Earlier, the daily wage rate under the MGNREGA was increased from Rs 182 to Rs 202.