Farmers of Warangal’s Sivaji village in Andhra Pradesh are facing a peculiar problem of labour shortage.
Migrant labourers, largely from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who earlier moved to villages during the time of a yield, are now staying away as alternate employment options are perhaps proving to be more lucrative.
Implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (NREGA) that guarantees minimum 100 days’ employment every year to rural workers and promises a minimum wage of Rs 60 per day has created this turn around. “Earlier, we used to pay women and men Rs 30 and Rs 50, respectively. But now we have to pay a minimum of Rs 70 to women and as much as Rs 120 to men,” said Malamani Subbarao at Sivaji Nagar. “It is difficult to find people who are willing to work on our fields. More labourers prefer to work elsewhere than in fields as they can manage a higher income there.”
“There is no formal statement from Andhra Pradesh on labour shortage but we have heard reports from different states about a shortage of people,” said an official at the ministry of rural development.