Skip to main content

Lack of adequately budgeted funds: 93% of wage payments 'delayed' in January

By Our Representative
Demanding “adequate budget” for schemes under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has revealed that, as on January 17, 2020, 93% of wage payments were pending for the month, pointing out, “Every financial year, from the third quarter onwards, the funds for NREGA dry up” and “work slows down and delays in wage payments escalate.”
In a statement released ahead of the Union budget, the Morcha has demanded “adequate budget for NREGA for 2020-21”, noting, “Every year, about 20% of the NREGA budget is used to clear arrears. This cycle keeps continuing and adversely affects workers in the peak NREGA season in the final quarter of the financial year.”
Insisting on “budgetary allocation for NREGA” adequate enough to meet the “legal guarantee of 100 days of work for every rural household” and “work and timely payment of wages”, the Morcha said, “Providing resources to improve NREGA will be helpful for the economy in general. NREGA wages would increase disposable income in rural areas. This in turn will boost demand and increase consumption.”
Accusing the BJP government at the Centre for “intentionally ignoring” NREGA year after year, the Morcha said, “While the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) claims to have made progress in timely wage payments, large delays in wage payments still plague the programme.”
Quoting a recent article by a former secretary, MoRD, it says, “75% of payments are credited in 15 days”, though pointing out, official figures also suggest that once funds “start drying up in October, this ratio falls significantly.”
“Additionally”, it adds, “Despite calculating delays made by the centre in depositing wages, the delays made by the centre is not added to calculate delay compensation. The Centre must fix accountability on the agencies that cause the delays and ensure that workers are compensated for the full duration of the delay in the crediting of wages to their bank account.”
The statement further points towards “stagnating wage rates”, pointing out, “The government's decision to index the wage rate to the Consumer Price Index - Rural (CPI-R) as opposed to the older Consumer Price Index - Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL) is a welcome move”, yet the fact is, “It has made such an announcement many times in the past and has not acted on it.”
“Also”, it says, “The change in index will lead to a very meagre increase in NREGA wages since they are very low to begin with. The new indexation will be meaningful if the NREGA wages are at least at par with the minimum wages in the states.”

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9.