Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA)

Sushubh

Administrator
[OP]
Oct 29, 2004
420,450
13,129
Gurugram
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.”
 

Sushubh

Administrator
[OP]
Oct 29, 2004
420,450
13,129
Gurugram
How govt used WhatsApp to curtail work given under MNREGA

Noticing a steep rise in demand for work under MNREGA in the drought year, the rural development ministry used an off-record WhatsApp chat group and told states to desist from generating more work for the poor under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee programme in August, the ministry told the state officials that the 'mad race' for generating work under MNREGA could not continue. It warned that more funds would not be made available soon and states had to 'plan' more 'judiciously' with the money they had already received.

The instructions ran contrary to the provisions of the MNREG Act, which makes it mandatory for the government to provide as much funds as are required for the work demanded by the rural poor and not curtail work to fit its budgetary decisions. But, on the WhatsApp group the NDA government told the states that the idea that MNREGA was demand driven 'did not cut much ice anymore'.

Faced with this informally imposed moratorium on funds, many states repeatedly pleaded the rural development ministry on the WhatsApp group for immediate release of monies to pay hundreds of crores of already piled up arrears to the poor for the work that had been completed. But faced with the Centre’s off-record instructions, the work states provided to the rural poor in August and September came crashing down. In July 30, million extra persondays of work was given as compared to what Centre had initially approved. In September, the work provided was 54.48 million persondays less than what was initially approved for the month. This, when the budgeted work for September had anyway been kept substantially lower than that for July, adjusting for the usual lower demand in monsoon period.
 

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