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Protests mark NREGA anniversary in 10 states

Twelve years after the job guarantee Act was implemented on February 2, 2006, workers across 10 states, including Rajasthan, on Friday protested violations of the legal entitlements

jaipur Updated: Feb 02, 2018 22:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
NREGA anniversary,Protests,10 states
Demonstrations were held outside the offices of the BDOs to mark NREGA Diwas as ‘dhikkar diwas’.(HT File)

Twelve years after the Employment Guarantee Act was implemented on February 2, 2006, workers across 10 states, including Rajasthan, on Friday protested violations of the legal entitlements.

Demonstrations were held outside the offices of the block development officers (BDOs) to mark NREGA Diwas as ‘dhikkar diwas’.

Nikhil Dey of NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, said workers should have been celebrating the legal recognition of their right to work 12 years after the law was implemented but instead they are struggling to save their entitlements.

A release from the morcha, said that NREGA budget for 2018-19 was grossly inadequate to implement NREGA as per the provisions of the act.

The inadequate budget for NREGA, and also for other rural development programmes, undermines the employment guarantee act, the release said.

Protests were held across Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Odisha and Kerala.

In Rajasthan’s Bhim block, women sat outside the BDO’s office and beat steel plates in their unique style of protest.

There were long and unpredictable delays in wage payments, workers were not compensated for the delays in wage payments after the fund transfer order is signed by the second signatory and there has been a systematic stifling of the bottom-up approach of the quantum of work to be decided at the gram sabha, the release said.

Real NREGA wage rates have stagnated for a number of years now, said Mukesh Nirvasat of the morcha.

At present, the NREGA wage rates of 17 states are less than the corresponding minimum wages, he said.

“The government has ignored the recommendations of successive committees to reconcile between MGNREGA wage rates and state minimum wages.

“It has also not implemented the suggestion of indexing MGNREGA wage rates to the price level by using Consumer Price Index for Rural Labourers.”

The morcha release said it demands that allocation of adequate funds for the Employment Guarantee Act, to ensure that all rural households in need of NREGA work, get employment as per demand, wages are paid within 15 days and workers are compensated for the full duration of payment delay.

The demands also include that NREGA wage rates are reconciled with minimum wages and schemes are implemented as per the gram sabha priorities.

First Published: Feb 02, 2018 22:28 IST