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write this letter to seek your immediate assurance that these retrograde, anti-poor and anti-labour measures will be withdrawn, and that every attempt will be made by your government to implement the MGNREGS in its true spirit.”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

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Trump in Ahmedabad: Did Modi display servile colonial mindset towards gora sahib?

By Rajiv Shah
Donald Trump left Ahmedabad for Agra to "enjoy" the Mughal monument Taj Mahel in the afternoon on Monday, leaving behind scores of huge billboards standing across the megacity showcasing larger than life images of the US president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, some of them boldly captioned: “Two strong leaders of two strong democracies”.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.

Union Budget: 24 crore people live in the dark, Sitharaman talks of prepaid smart meters

Counterview Desk
The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a Delhi-based advocacy group, commenting on the Union budget 2020-21, has has called it a case of missing wood for the trees, pointing out, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "missed an opportunity to fix the economy, which is reeling under an unprecedented slowdown, with all indices pointing towards a recession."