In a move that will not only prevent leakages but also enhance accountability and transparency, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) will monitor the progress of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme. Currently, NRSC has geo-tagged more than 10 million publicly-listed assets. Since the inception of the programme in 2006-07, about 2.82 crore assets have been created under the programme.
On an average, about 30 lakh assets are created annually, which includes water harvesting structures, plantations, rural infrastructure, flood control measures, individual assets for sustainable livelihood and community infrastructure, among others. An on-going process, geo-tagging not only facilitates online recording and monitoring of assets to check leakages, but also serves as a tool for effective mapping of terrain for future developmental works. Geo-tagging implies that the assets created under MGNREGA, which includes farming and agricultural facilities like canals, dams, irrigation and sanitation projects, are identified via satellite technology. This ensures credible verification and effective dealing with the complaints of non-durability of such assets.
Geo-tagging involves capturing the latitude and longitude of the said asset with pictures that are made visible on the government-owned mapping platform – Bhuvan. This, in turn, provides 2D and 3D maps, and other geo-spatial applications.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Rural Development, “the process of geo-tagging is going on and all assets under MGNREGA will be geo-tagged. Special focus is being given to geo-tag natural resource management works especially the water-related works.”
The Ministry of Rural Development will now be able to use geographical information system (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) to visualise, analyse and explore MGNREGA-asset-related data and also manage them more efficiently along with better understanding of their impact.
GIS makes it possible to visualise and understand the geographical context of any asset and thereby improve its efficiency, by providing a single, integrated view of asset information system across rural India. The portal will also facilitate the exchange of geospatial data among stakeholders from various jurisdictional levels.