Welfare deaths: Delayed NREGA payments drive workers to suicide
An HT investigation has established that the scheme – launched in 2006 – and named after the father of the nation, is now leading to suicides amongst the ‘most vulnerable’, the precise target audience it was aimed at protecting. HT visited seven homes across Maharashtra and Jharkhand to track families whose members have, in desperation, either hanged themselves, set themselves afire, or consumed poison.
According to the scheme, payments must be made within 15 days of work being completed. Of these, 25 lakh had not been paid for more than 90 days. Says social activist Nikhil Dey of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), “This is terrible and needs to be looked at very seriously so that others who are on the edge can be saved.”