Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s proposal to change the UPA government’s flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) from an act to a scheme has invited criticism from civil society groups. They have threatened mass agitation if the NDA government implements Raje’s proposal.
Member of the Rajasthan Employment Guarantee Council and co-convener of the Soochna Evam Rozgar Abhiyan, Nikhil Dey questioned the motives behind Raje’s move.
“MGNREGA gives a legal right to labourers (to demand and get work) and makes the state accountable. If the NREGA is reduced to a scheme, then there would be no accountability of the state towards the labourers,” he said in a press conference in Jaipur on Friday.
He said that if the government shies away from its responsibility to provide work to the 50 lakh active job-card holders, then people will have to agitate to get their right.
The Medha Patkar-led National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM) also have opposed the purported move.
"If there is any attempt by the government to change the act into a scheme we will launch a nationwide agitation," they said in a press statement.
The Congress too criticized Raje’s proposal saying it would be punishment for the poor.
"We should try to strengthen and re-assess the scheme, but scrapping off a scheme like NREGA will be against national interest," said Shakeel Ahmad, Cong leader.