MGNERGA served as lifeline for workers who lost jobs during Covid pandemic: Kharge

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday said that Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(MGNERGA)served as a lifeline for workers who lost their jobs during Covid pandemic.

Speaking on the ‘Motion of Thanks’ to the President’s address in the Upper House, he said that traditionally the President’s speech is a policy document, but unfortunately it had neither policy nor vision.

Slamming the BJP leaders, he said: “You say nothing happened in the past 70 years, if nothing had happened you would not have been alive today and anyone who speaks against the government is an anti-national,” he stated.

Whenever the Opposition raises its voice, the government says that religion is under danger. “In 2014, you had promised two crore jobs every year and going by that, by now you should have provided 15 crore jobs. Yesterday’s budget speech announced to create 60 lakh jobs in the next five years but over two crore people are unemployed today.”

In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the youth have taken to the street demanding employment, whereas the Central government has nine lakh vacancies, including 15 per cent in Railways, 12 per cent in the union Home Ministry, 40 per cent in Defence sector, he added.

Noting that 60 per cent Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSME) units are now closed down, Kharge further said that we brought MGNREGA which, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used to term a live example of “our unsuccessful policies”.

“During Covid, this MGNREGA served as a lifeline for workers who lost jobs and around Rs 1.80 lakh crore should have been allotted to MGNREGA, but you have kept only Rs 73,000 crore for the scheme. You only gave 20 days’ jobs to only seven crore unemployed people, against the 150 days promised during the pandemic,” he alleged.

Price rise during these days is at 12-year-high, he added.

Referring to the Chinese encroachment on Indian territory, the Congress leader said that “the hostile neighbour has been snatching our land, building houses, why are you not showing your red eyes to them now? When we were in power, we were asked by the then Opposition to show red eyes to China.

“You do not talk about China at all. Why are you are silent now?” Kharge questioned while PM Modi was present in the House.

On the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) which is a profitable venture, he said that the government is going to disinvest it.

He also slammed the government for not paying any compensation to the farmers who lost their lives during the year-long agitation against the three farm laws, saying: “You called them mawaali (hooligans), aatankawadi(Terrorists), a minister’s son killed four farmers and he was not sacked because of political interest, you should sack the home minister (MoS Home Ajay Kumar Mishra Teni), as he could influence the probe.”

The Congress leader also made a reference to harassment of minorities and how the Mother Teresa’s organisation Mission of Charity was targetted.

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