New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) A group of activists on Wednesday alleged that the central government is “hollowing” MGNREGA through measures like mandatory linking to Aadhaar, compensation and the suppression of its wage rates.
According to a statement from activists, who include Nikhil Dey of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan and Annie Raja of National Federation of Indian Women, the programme is particularly needed at this time in the country where drought conditions are still prevalent and the informal economy is yet to recover from demonetisation.
Questioning the BJP government’s budgetary allocation for schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in the current financial year, the statement said: “For 2017-18, the Union of India has budgeted Rs 48,000 crore.”
“Out of this Rs 10,778 crore will go in paying the previous years’ liabilities, leaving only Rs 37,222 crore for generating employment in this financial year.”
“Thus, the current year’s budget is only 53 per cent of what is required to meet the State’s projection,” it added.
The statement also alleged that the government has brazenly deleted one crore job cards, thus denying citizens their entitlement of the right to work.
In doing so, the Ministry of Rural Development has violated the Schedule of the Act and its own guidelines, it added.
The activists, referring to a January 4 notification by the Ministry of Rural Development, called the notifications making Aadhaar mandatory as a violation of Supreme Court orders that have repeatedly stated that it cannot be mandatory for welfare programmes.
They also alleged the government of under-representing the delays of MGNREGA wage payments.