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Pending GoI wage payments to rural labour reach Rs 5,100 crore: NREGA Morcha

By Our Representative 

MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), which is said to have provided a cushion to millions of rural households amidst great economic distress during the Covid-19 pandemic, continues to be bogged with poor implementation, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has alleged.
Pointing out that a substantial portion of the household expenditure in rural areas has been met through the NREGA wages and the nation has “witnessed significant rise in demand for work under the programme since the pandemic hit”, it said in an email alert to Counterview that as on November 15, 2021, as many as 3.46 crore transactions “are pending” in various States from the Government of India (GoI). The total amount of the pending NREGA wages comes to Rs 5,094 crore.
Giving State-wise details, the advocacy group said, “While the actual demand and need for work has only increased on the ground, the programme has run out of funds. More than 90% of the central budget allocation for the programme had already been exhausted with about 5 months remaining in the current financial year.”
In the light of the current crisis of delay payments and low fund balance availability with States, the Morcha-sponsored People’s Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG) has released its annual NREGA performance tracker highlighting the issues. Another group, LibTech India, it said, has released a report titled Heavy Wait.
Sending deputation to several State chief ministers, the Morcha demanded that the pending wages from the central government to be released immediately, insisting, “Considering the need for creating more employment in the rural parts of the State, adequate additional allocations be made for NREGA.”
It further demanded that “Provision at-least 150 days of work for each job card holding household in this financial year”, and caste-based method of disbursing payment “needs to be revoked.”
The Morcha underlined, “In such trying times, the spirit of MGNREGA as an entitlement for people’s right to work with dignity and social protection must be strengthened. We sincerely hope that the government of India will make much awaited provisions at such a critical juncture.”

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