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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

MNREGA okay, but where is work, ask villagers in Unnao

“Earlier, we used to get enough work under MNREGA without long gaps. But there are weeks when we have no work to do,” says Manju of the village.

lucknow Updated: Apr 02, 2019 08:54 IST
Saurabh Chauhan
Saurabh Chauhan
Hindustan Times, Unnao
         

Even as the poll din is missing in Mirjapur Sumhari village of Unnao, some dwellers are waiting for a “good news” that work under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) is available.

Shashi Kala, 42, along with three others villagers, is harvesting potatoes in a farm as a daily wager about 4 km away from her village.

According to her, the job guarantee scheme is not helping her. “What will one earn after working for 14-15 days in a year under MNREGA? When we ask the panchayat head about MNREGA jobs, he says there is no work,” she says.

MNREGA is a labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’.

It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

The village has more than 500 houses where over 2,500 dwellers reside. Majority of families do not have adequate land to earn their livelihood and are dependent on daily wages. Some of them go to Purwa for jobs while those who have farm land are forced to be in fields to guard it from stray animals.

Some families have, however, benefitted from various other central and state government schemes. “We got LPG connection under Ujjwala scheme but we could not get the cylinder refilled as we did not have money,” says Chhedana of Atwa village near Mirjapur Sumhari, in Unnao,.

According to MNREGA labourers, wages under this scheme are always delayed and now the work is not available easily. “We only get Rs 174 under MNREGA and I have to feed the family of four with this amount,” Ram Aasare, 48, says.

“Earlier, we used to get enough work under MNREGA without long gaps. But there are weeks when we have no work to do,” says Manju of the same village.

“MNREGA strengthens our economi condition as women of the villages got work. Now, we are back to square one,” she adds.

Like Manju, many others have been tilling farms on contract and getting Rs 200 per day.

“We are getting Rs 200 but it will not last long. There will be no work on this land after some days and we will have to search for new work,” says Minnati of the same village.

Rajesh Kumar, 18, of Atwa village, says: “You will not find many people in the village during day time as most of them go to Purwa in search of job.

Atwa village got pucca houses and toilets built under central schemes but the question of livelihood still stares at them.

Asked if MNREGA is helping or not, he says: “Hum koi badi naukari nahin maang rahe. Mazdoori karna chah rahe hain aur vo bhi nahin milti. (We do not aspire for big jobs but are ready to do work as a daily wager. But we do not get even that),” he says.

What does government data say?

In Uttar Pradesh 2018-19 2017-18 2016-17

Women Person days out of total(%):35.27 53.53 56.16

Average days of employment per household (per year): 41.57 45.69 46

First Published: Apr 02, 2019 08:54 IST

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