Lockdown hits NREGA workers hard-THE HINDU-24-03-2020


Support becomes critical as thousands of migrant workers return to villages

This is especially critical as thousands of migrant workers stream back to their villages, leaving the cities due to the shutdowns.

Letter to PM, FM:

“Over the last two days, MGNREGA has completely stopped in Karnataka. We are demanding that unemployment allowance at least must be given to those who have already applied for work under the scheme,” said Abhay Kumar, State coordinator of the Grameen Coolie Karmikara Sangathan, a registered union for rural workers. He added that it was critical that MGNREGA workers are brought under the ambit of the Building and Other Construction Workers welfare boards. These boards collect a 1% cess from all construction projects in the country, paid by employers for the welfare of workers.

“MGNREGA workers are often employed in construction related projects. As their employer, the government must pay a 1% cess on their behalf, so that they can benefit from the welfare schemes, especially health-related,” Mr. .

‘Absolute mayhem’

“There is absolute mayhem as the State has huge numbers of migrant workers who have lost their jobs and are leaving the cities. MGNREGA should be one major way to help them, but the scheme needs to be strengthened for that to happen. “The government is saying that public and private sector employers must give paid leave at this time. For MGNREGA workers, government itself is the employer.

Welfare fund:

Meanwhile, a group of NGOs representing informal sector workers, including the Working People’s Charter, also wrote to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday, seeking a Rs.50,000 crore emergency workers’ welfare fund to be set up by the Centre’s Economic Response Task Force.

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