CPI-M protests in Tripura over cuts in Centre’s MGNREGA share

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Agartala, Sep 14 (IANS) The ruling CPI-M on Thursday organised sit-ins across Tripura to protest against what it said were “huge cuts” in fund allocation by the Centre for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.

“We have been forced to launch the agitation against the huge cut in Centre’s share in MGNREGA funds. The sit-ins were held in all 58 blocks in the state,” Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Tripura State Secretary Bijan Dhar told the media here.

He said that CPI-M leaders Gautam Das, Rama Das, Narayan Kar and Pabitra Kar addressed the protesters in different blocks.

Gautam Das said that Tripura led in providing jobs under MGNREGA in the past but the Centre had sharply reduced its share in the scheme in the 2017-18 fiscal, forcing the north-eastern state to ensure work only for a maximum of 42 days this year.

As a result a serious job crisis has emerged in rural Tripura where no big and medium industries exist.

Bijan Dhar said that all states in the country were facing a similar situation but no political party other than the CPI-M was raising the issue or asking the central government to act in a more considerate manner on the MGNREGA scheme.

The MGNREGA, introduced in February 2006 by the then Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, mandates 100 days of work in a financial year to at least one member of each rural household.

The scheme aims to generate rural assets and create rural infrastructure like roads, ponds and water reservoirs.

The CPI-M has demanded an increase in the number of work days to 200 under the scheme and a hike in wages to at least Rs 300 per day.

According to state government officials, Left-ruled Tripura had occupied the top spot in providing jobs under MGNREGA for seven consecutive years till 2015-16 fiscal, but slipped to second position (after Mizoram) with 79.88 person days per household in the last fiscal.

The state has been able to provide only 22 days of work during the current fiscal.

–IANS

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