Nationwide Protest by NREGA workers #NREGASangharshMorcha

Thousands of NREGA workers from 9 states have staged demonstrations and attempted to file FIRs against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over unpaid dues in blatant violation of the law and demanded the immediate release of Rs. 25,000 crores to the NREGA budget.

  • Filingof FIRs against Prime Minister for fraud in NREGA wages of workerson 28th February, 2019, at – 150 Police Station across the country
  • Petitionto Prime Minister of India and Minister of Rural Development forimmediate release of Rs. 25,000 crores to NREGA Budget

On28th February NREGA workers across the country went to their localpolice station and file an FIR against Prime Minister Sri NarendraModi. This is being done as part of the National Day of Action calledby the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that workwith NREGA labourers across the country.

Thousandsof NREGA workers from 9 states, namely Bihar,Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha,Rajasthan, Chhatissgarh and Gujarat had staged demonstrations and attempted to lodge an FIR at thenearest police station against the blatant violation of law by thecentral government in making MGNREGA payments. Workersacross 50 districts in these 9 states have gathered in almost 150police stations to lodge their complaints.

TheGovernment of India is the authority responsible for implementing theprovisions of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment GuaranteeAct, 2005 (MGNREGA). As its head, it is incumbent on Shri NarendraModi, the Prime Minister of India to ensure that the law be followedin letter and spirit. However, the last five years have witnesseddeliberate undermining of the Act, by allocating insufficient funds,not meeting the fund demand on time, delays in wage payments andthereby suppressing work demand.

Ifthe work demand of the workers has to be fulfilled, at least Rs.88,000 crore should have been allocated towards the program. However,insufficient funds have repeatedly resulted in holding back ofpayments of wages and demand not being met in critical periods ofthe year. This has caused immense hardships for workers andexacerbated the conditions of the most marginalised groups ofcitizens.

Hehas therefore been guilty of committing multiple offenses like makingfalse promises to make workers work, cheating them of their wages anddisobeying the law, especially the provisions of the Mahatma GandhiNational Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, with intent to causeharm to the workers and their families. And it is on the basis ofthis complaint thousands of workers across the country while waitingfor their pending wages have decided to register a FIR against theprincipal violator Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India undersections 116 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code and to take necessarysteps to immediately arrest the wrong doer.

Inthe period between October 2018 to 1 February 2019, no Fund TransferOrders (FTOs) were processed in many states due to non-availabilityof funds for MGNREGA, forcing workers to wait for wages for months onend, even when the Act promises that wages will be given within 15days of doing work.

Flaggingthis funds crisis in the NREGA, a letter has been sent to theMinister Rural Development, from across the country through theDistrict Magistrates (DMs) stating that the NSM demands that “…the Government of India should immediately release Rs. 25000 crore tofund NREGA work till June 2019, when the budget will be passed afterthe general elections.”

Therationale behind this demand is that, the initial allocation of FY18-19 of Rs. 55,000 crore was long exhausted in January 2019, andowing to mounting pressure and criticism from MGNREGA workers,citizen campaigns, and Members of Parliament, additional funds to ofRs 6,084 crore were released to honour legal commitments to theprogramme. Out of this, Rs. 5745crore will go into clearing thepending liabilities as per the figures reflected in the governmentdata1.Therefore, there is practically no fund to fulfill the new demand inthe peak period between January and March 2019

Itis ironic, that a Government which seems to have plenty of money tofund bullet trains and to compensate banks for NPAs of corporates wholooted the banks, has no money to pay workers who have done theirfair share of work and are now awaiting their wages.

ForNSM Conveners Group : Debmalya and Ankita (Jharkhand), Anuradha(Bengal), Richa Singh and Arundhati (U.P.), Kamayani (Bihar), Mukesh(Rajasthan), Ganga Ram Paikra (Chattisgarh), Nancy and Aysha (Delhi),Neeta (Gujrat), Nirmala (A.P) and Abhay (Karnataka).

1 Asper report number R7.1.1 on the Management Information System onnrega.nic.in

Vidyut
  • Vidyut
  • Vidyut has a keen interest in mass psychology and using it as a lens to understand contemporary politics, social inequality and other dynamics of power within the country. She is also into Linux and internet applications and servers and has sees technology as an important area India lacks security in.

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