Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) wages are below minimum wages in several states. The issue was brought to notice by the sub-group of Chief Ministers established to look at ways to ensure convergence of MGNREGA.
Out of the 36 states and Union Territories, the MGNREGA wages of as many as 28 states and Union Territories fell below minimum wages. This came in the backdrop of the Finance Ministry refusing to bring the central MGNREGA wages on par with the minimum agricultural wages paid by states.
At the NITI Aayog governing council meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra to meet the NDA’s promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 led to the formation of this group.
The first meeting of the group was held on July 12 which had in attendance Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani participated through video conferencing. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu sent in their recommendations in writing.
“The issue of MGNREGA wages being well below the minimum wages paid by states was raised by Bihar CM and supported by the others. They agreed that MGNREGA wages need to be revised and a way has to be found to address this discrepancy and bridge the gap,” The Indian Express quoted an official saying.
Due to the rejection of the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) recommendation to index the annual MGNREGA wage revision to Consumer Price Index (Rural) instead of CPI (Agricultural Labourers) by the Finance Ministry, the annual wage increase this year was a low 2.9 per cent.
It is a disgrace to the work done by the previous UPA government under the MGNREGA scheme.
Credit: The Indian Express