Skip to main content

Jharkhand govt "takes away" tribal, non-tribal local bodies' right to decide on NREGA jobs, developmental work

Counterview Desk
In what is being interpreted as a clear violation of provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act, 1996, the Jharkhand government has decided to form Adivasi Vikas Samitis in all scheduled villages and Gram Vikas Samitis in non-scheduled ones in Jharkhand to implement developmental schemes related with ponds, wells, and others amounting to less than Rs 5 lakh.
The traditional heads in PESA villages and Gram Panchayat Mukhiyas will only be “special invitees” in the committees. The Panchayat Sewak has to get them formed through ‘Aam Sabhas’. These committees will function under the administrative and financial authority of the state government -- Block Development Officer.
A civil rights group, taking strong exception to the state government move, says in a note forwarded to Counterview, “It is amply clear that this policy violates constitutional provisions of PESA and Jharkhand Panchayati Raj Act”, adding, “To activate the policy, the secretary of the rural development department has written to his officers to amend rules of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).”
Says NREGA Watch, Jharkhand, “Implementation of MGNREGA schemes, through these committees, is a violation of the legal provisions of this Act as well. The MGNREGA stipulates that at least 50 per cent of the total funds is to be spent through the Gram Panchayats. All schemes are to be selected only by the Gram Sabhas.”
It adds, “It must be mentioned that, currently in Jharkhand, almost all MGRNEGA schemes are implemented through the Gram Panchayats and most of them are less than Rs. 5 lakh. As a result of this decision of the government, all such schemes can now be implemented through the committees. This will make the role of Gram Panchayats negligible in MGNREGA.”
The civil rights group further says, “The Act also clearly prohibits implementation of schemes through contractors. There is little doubt that contractors will rule the roost in the names of these committees.”
It quotes Chief Minister Raghuvar Das telling the divisional conclave of the ruling BJP to form committees in each village, assuring party cadres that the local administration would provide administrative recognition to the committees, once they are formed.
According to the civil rights group, the new government move comes at a time when, “in most of the villages, workers are waiting for adequate number of schemes to be implemented”, adding, “In the last three years, households that managed to get work under MGNREGA could get only an average of 40 days of work per year.”
According to it, “In April 2018, MGNREGA employment was the lowest compared to the corresponding month in the last three years. The participation of adivasi and Dalit workers in MGNREGA employment fell from almost 50 per cent to 38 per cent in the last three years.”
What has allegedly further complicated the issue is, in the last two years, job cards of more than three lakh households were deleted in the “jobcard verification drive” of the government. It also includes cards of several households that regularly work in MGNREGA or want work. As a result, such households are unable to access their right to work.
The move comes amidst a 2017-18 study saying that at least 30 per cent of wage payments were not made on time, with issues such as aadhaar verification failure proliferating.

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.

Coal blocks for tycoons: Rinchi village tribals may be declared forest land encroachers

By Gladson Dungdung*
On June 18, 2020, the Government of India initiated the process for auctioning 41 coal blocks for commercialisation. These coal blocks are located in different states within India and most of them fall under Fifth Schedule areas. The Indian government claims that their decision to auction these coal areas is a big step towards making the country Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant) in the energy sector.