Debt-ridden Maha farmers turn to govt for jobs

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 21, 2016 00:19 IST
More than 60% of the EGS works are agriculture-related (HT File)

Grappling with drought, crop loss and debt, farmers from across the state, especially Marathwada, are likely to get enrolled in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), to work as labourers on a wage of Rs192 a day.

The scheme promises 365 days of work. Around four lakh labourers have been employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the number is expected to reach 5.5 lakh by next month.

More than 60% of the EGS works are agriculture-related.

Three droughts in the past four years have left farmers in debts and with limited sources of livelihood, leading to a rise in number of labourers working under the EGS. Although the number is highest in Vidarbha, it is on the rise in Marathwada in the past two weeks. “Around 2.08 lakh workers in 11 districts of Vidarbha are engaged in various works under the scheme, while 1.03 lakh labourers work under the scheme in Marathwada. In the past one week, the number of labourers on the roll in Marathwada has risen to 1.99 lakh. The number is expected to increase every passing week till the start of monsoon,” said Prabhakar Deshmukh, secretary, water conservation and MGNREGS.

In Beed, Latur and Osmanabad, the worst-affected districts of Marathwada, 13,000, 15,500 and 16,000 workers have registered for MGNREGS projects respectively.

Deshmukh said the registration has been on the rise over the past few years.

The state government has spent Rs1,617 crore on various projects in 2014-15 and has generated 613 lakh days of work. In 2015-16, the spending was Rs1,864 crore, which created 763 lakh days of works. It is expected to go upto 850 lakh days of work this year. Deshmukh said the labourers are paid within eight days of the completion of the work and the amount is deposited directly to their accounts.

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