99 pc MGNREGA funds exhausted, activists seek PM’s attention


New Delhi | January 5, 2019:

Several labour and rights activists from various parts of the country on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strengthen the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), claiming 99 per cent of this year's allocation were exhausted and no additional funds have been approved.

The activists, during a discussion, also said that the Prime Ministers' lack of support for MGNREGA is a "slap in the face of the rural poor across the country for whom MGNREGA is a lifeline"

According to the Management Information System (MIS), the activists claimed that "99 per cent of this year's allocation is already exhausted and no additional funds have been approved".

With the lean agricultural season beginning soon, the demand for work will increase but the programme is starved of funds, they said.

Sanjay Sahni, a labourer and activist from Bihar's Muzaffarpur said the workers are not getting payments even after months of waiting.

"MGNREGA is not working in a proper way, though people are willing to work. As per law, job should be given in 15 days and the payment in next 7-15 days. But we have to wait for months for work and even longer for payments.

"I was working in Delhi, but managed to settle back in our home due to MGNREGA. This can help millions of migrant labourers and will allow them to work at their home," he said.

Reena, from Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh, said that the work is not provided for 100 days, as promised by law. She also alleged that the data is manipulated as the workers are not able to check facts online.

All those present in the discussion endorsed a letter to the Prime Minister calling for "swift, sensitive and timely action and demonstrate strong political will to protect the legal entitlement of millions of rural workers".

The letter, they said, will be circulated widely for more endorsements before it is sent to the PMO in the next week.