NREGA Sangharsh Morcha wants higher wages under scheme, more working days; writes to PM Modi

nrega, mgnrega, nrega sangharsh morcha, nrega sangharsh morch, mahatma gandhi national rural employment guarantee, management information system

The Nrega Sangharsh Morcha has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to enhance wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National rural employment Guarantee scheme to Rs 600 per day besides enhancing the mandatory work days under the scheme to 150 as against 100 to help Nrega workers tide over the high inflation and income loss due to the pandemic.

Besides, it has suggested that all members of NREGA job card holding families should he brought under the Employment State Insurance Act as a social protection measure.

“The COVID 19 pandemic continues to be a serious public health issue with devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of workers, especially in the informal sector and daily wage workers. In such trying times, the spirit of MGNREGA as an entitlement for people’s right to work with dignity and social protection must be strengthened,” it said in its letter to the PM on Tuesday.

According to the Nrega Sangharsh Morch, the increasing rate of unemployment and 34% decrease in the fiscal budget of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) for year 2021-22 as compared to the revised estimate of the year 2020-21 is adding further woes on rural populations for survival and employment.

“The huge inflation in the past two years also means that in real terms the wages in MGNREGA remain paltry and insufficient,” it said, adding that the MGNREGA is envisioned as a gender-responsive program for recovery from economic crisis with much needed reforms in the implementation mechanism and provisions over and above all existing entitlements under the scheme.

“The government should notify a wage rate of Rs 600 per day for NREGA workers as per recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission which will allow dignified living for 15 crore households who are registered under NREGA,” it said, adding a respectable increase in wages of MGNREGA workers has become urgent keeping in mind the huge inflation in the prices of food and all consumer goods.

The Nrega Sangharsh Morcha further said that the Management Information System of the government shows that over 70% of the total household provided employment in the year 2020-21 have already been provided employment in the last six months.

“The mandate of the MGNREGA should be expanded as guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural adult member who seeks to do unskilled manual work. This will increase scope for rural unemployed labour to engage in productive resource building activity with protection of workers right to work with dignity, wages and social security, especially in the areas where there is forced migration for survival and livelihoods,” it added.

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