When Workers Protest
Photo story of MNREGA workers protest in Delhi
Around 500 labourers working under MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005) held a protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi from August 2 to August 4. They arrived from across the fifteen states to gather at the National Capital. The Union budget for the financial year 2020-21 allocated Rs. 73,000 crore for MGNREGA,
Later, an additional fund of Rs 25,000 crore was added for the respective financial year. Whereas when the demand of jobs under MGNREGA are expected to rise in the current financial year (FY 2021-22) the allocated fund of Rs.73,000 Crore, according to NREGA Sangarsh Morcha (NSM) leaves many labourers unpaid with lesser working days.
Aastha from West Bengal: She travelled to New Delhi to put forward her demands from the government. "It has been eight months of non-payment of our daily wages under MGNREGA. We labourers follow all the required rules of the scheme but fail to get even any delay payments from the government," she said adding "we are anyway paid a meagre Rs. 200 for a day, but now we are struggling to receive even this amount."
According to the NSM's analysis, over 18 lakh invoices for the first half of FY 2021-2022 showed that the GoI processed only 29% of the Fund Transfer Orders within the mandated seven day period. The protesters demanded an increase in the rate of compensation for delayed payments to at least 0.5 percent of the pending wages per day of delay.
The usage of the National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS) App has created more barriers to work. According to NSM, their ground reports suggest that workers have lost 50% of their wages due to technical glitches in the app.
Many women, working supervisors have had to take loans to get smartphones to use the app. They demand that the NMMS based attendance system should be immediately scrapped.
With their high dependence on MGNREGA, labourers demand for a better future.