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MGNREGA Wages Not Paid For Months, Workers to File FIRs Against PM Modi

The govt “seems to have plenty of funds for bullet trains, and to compensate banks for non-non-performing assets (NPAs) of corporates,” said NREGA Sangharsh Morcha

MGNREGA workers across the country have reportedly decided to file First Information Reports (FIRs) for fraud against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, February 28, to protest against the non-payment of wages under the scheme.

Per a report by Tarique Anwar in NewsClick, from October 2018 to February 1, 2019, no Fund Transfer Orders (FTOs) were processed due to non-availability of funds for MGNREGA. This has forced workers to go unpaid for months, even though the Act guarantees deliverance of wages within 7 to 15 days of work.

The protest is has been called by a civil society organisation, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM). Citing NSM’s claim, the report states that the allocation made for the scheme in financial year 2018-19 was exhausted in January 2019. Following this, owing to mounting pressure and criticism from MGNREGA workers, citizen campaigns and Members of Parliament (MPs), additional funds to the tune of Rs 6,084 crore was released  by the government. Of this, Rs. 5,745 crore will reportedly be utilised towards already pending liabilities, leaving little funds to pay the wages for the work done or is to be done till June.  MNS has urged the government to sanction Rs 25,000 crore to be able to fund the work in the first nine months of the year.

Also Read: India’s Only Employment Guarantee Scheme Being Systematically Undermined: 250 MPs, Eminent Citizens Write to PM Modi to Release MGNREGA Funds (Read Letter)

While the NDA government had allotted only Rs 60,000 crore for the scheme in its 2019-2020 budget, the NSM demands that the government must increase the funds for the scheme, as the government’s own reports expect the expenditure to be close to Rs 88,000 crore per year for effective implementation of the scheme, Newsclick reported.

Castigating the government for having “plenty of funds for bullet trains, and to compensate banks for non-non-performing assets (NPAs) of corporates,” Kamayani, an NSM convenor, told NewsClick,  “The Centre in effect has released nearly nothing to create new work in the peak period of January to March 2019. The government of India should immediately release Rs 25,000 crore to fund MGNREGA works till June 2019, when the next interim budget will be passed after the general elections.”

She reportedly added that a letter has been sent to Union Minister for Rural Development by District Magistrates from fifty districts across the country highlighting the workers’ demands.

Also Read: Rural Distress: No Fund Left For MGNREGA for FY 2018-19; Budget Allocated For 2019-20 Less Than Amount Already Spent in 2018-19

NSM activists are demanding accountability from the Prime Minister himself, and hold him responsible for multiple “offences like making false promises to make workers work, cheating them of their wages and disobeying the law, especially the provisions of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005,” reported News Click.

The statement issued by NSM reportedly said, “And it is on the basis of this complaint, thousands of workers across the country while waiting for their pending wages have decided to register a FIR against the principal violator PM Shri Narendra Modi under sections 116 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and to take necessary steps to immediately arrest the wrong doer,”

NewsClick report added that FIRs will be filed at 150 police stations in the states of Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka.

Also Read: ‘Delhi Chalo’: Thousands of Workers to March to Parliament Against Modi Govt’s Anti-Labour Policies

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