Skip to main content

Modi asked to clarify: Why is the Government of India seeking to "dilute" national rural jobs scheme?

By Our Representative
In an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several top intellectuals and activists have strongly objected to the efforts to dilute the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), saying he should immediate intervene in the matter and the stop the move. Pointing towards several disturbing “impending moves” towards diluting MGNRGS, they said, any such effort would undermine the “support” being extended to the rural poor. In fact, according to them, any such dilution would mean setback “to crores of vulnerable rural families”.
Among those who have signed the letter include former member of the National Advisory Council under Sonia Gandhi Aruna Roy, who is with the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan; Prof Jean Dreze, a close associate of Nobel laureate economist Prof Amartya Sen, and is currently visiting faculty at Ranchi University; Annie Raja of the National Federation of Indian Women; Prof Jayati Ghosh of the Jawaharlal Nehru University; bureaucrat-turned-activist Harsh Mander, who is now special commissioner to the Supreme Court; Ashish Ranjan of the National Alliance for People’s Movements, and others.
In their representation, they said, “We write this letter to seek your immediate assurance that these retrograde, anti-poor and anti-labour measures will be withdrawn, and that every attempt will be made by your government to implement the MGNREGS in its true spirit.” Especially referring to a recent public statement of Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Rural Development, and other available information, they pointed towards several major changes being contemplated by the Government of India.
According to them, the changes being thought about include:
  • Restriction of MGNREGS to tribal/backward districts of the country through an amendment to the Act.
  • Reduction of the minimum labour-material ratio from the current level of 60:40 to 51:49.
  • Severely restricting the MGNREGS through a budget squeeze. 
“There have been unprecedented communications by the Central government to states capping MGNREGS expenditure for the rest of the financial year, undermining the fundamental principle of demand-driven employment”, the letter said, adding, “These changes are inimical to the spirit of the Act and compromise its basic objectives. They will only benefit the contractor class and other middlemen, and severely undermine the employment generating potential of the MGNREGS.”
The letter strongly objected to the fact that the changes are being “undertaken without any public consultation.” It said, “The MGNREGS was passed unanimously by all parties and all members of Parliament. We fundamentally object to this critical social legislation being undermined through casual use of executive powers and even a parliamentary majority.” Calling the whole exercise “illegal and unwarranted”, the letter added, any budget squeeze on MGNRGS will lead to “employment rationing and acute delays in wage payments”.
The letter further said, “Even as MGNREGS workers are struggling to be paid for work already done, the Central government is sending the message that money is going to be further rationed.” Hence the demand that Government of India should “immediately revoke” the proposed decisions and “renounce any dilution of MGNREGS”, it said, adding, “We urge you to ensure that MGNREGS employment remains a legal right of every rural household across the country and that there is no dilution of any MGNREGA entitlements.”
Insisting that the MGNREGs budget should be “based on work demand, keeping with the spirit of the act, without any discretionary cuts”, the letter concluded, “We wish to convey our resolve to work together to protect the MGNREGS and defend the rights of MGNREGS workers.” It may be noted that several pro-Modi economists, before he came to power, called MGNREGS wasteful expenditure, saying, “huge resources are being devoted to sustain" this other such social programmes, and these should be stopped (click HERE).
Meanwhile, quoting documents obtained under the Right to Information (RTI), reports say, government officials have suggested in their file notings Gadkari's announcements run contrary to the “spirit of the Act“ and that reducing the wage component of the total funds allocated for the scheme would lead to a 40 per cent fall in jobs, affecting five crore rural households. Gadkari, on his part, believes that reducing the wage component “is reflective of the view of the legislature“ and should be “brought about immediately“.

Comments

Anonymous said…
please update modi's mitigation on Indian government jobs

TRENDING

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.