Rajbala Verma writes to Union Rural Development Ministry urging to increase MGNREGA

Ranchi, Mar 18: The Jharkhand Government has written a letter to the
Union Rural Development Ministry urging to make  Jharkhand’s MGNREGA
wage rate for 2O17-18 at par with the state’s minimum agricultural
wage.
A letter in this regard has been written by Chief Secretary Rajbala
Verma to Amarjeet Sinha, Secretary Union Ministry for Rural
Development stating that Jharkhand was very disappointed to learn that
the state’s MGNREGA wage rate has increased by a mere Re 1 to Rs 168
for the financial year 2oI7-18.
“lt is extremely worrying that the real wage of MGNREGA workers has
remained stagnant in thelast two years and, in fact, it has decreased
compared to last year. I would also like to point out that while the
average national real wage of the country has risen by more than 20
per cent in the last ten years, the increase for MGNREGA workers has
only been 4.7 percent in the corresponding period,” Ms Verma said.
She pointed out that the proposed MGNREGA wage rate for 2OIl-!8 is
Rs 56 less than the state’s minimum agricultural wage rate. The
state’s minimum wage has increased by 2I2 per cent between 2007 and
2017 whereas the corresponding increase in the MGNREGA wage has been
only 94 per cent . From a situation when the two wages were equal, a
growing divergence is being seen.
The Chief Secretary said that being one of the poorest states of
the country, MGNREGA plays a crucial role in providing economic
security to the poorest rural households of Jharkhand’ According to
the Socio Economic Caste Census of 2011, more than 50 percent of rural
households depend on casual manual labour for their livelihoods. Under
the guidance of the Government of India, the state has been able to
utilize the programme fcr constructing a variety of useful assets such
as farm ponds, wells, compost pits and IHHL which have enhanced rura!
livelihoods and improved village infrastructure.
“However, most workers may not want to work at an un-remunerative
wage rate of Rs 168, defeating the very purpose of Mahatma Gandhi
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’,” she said adding that the
state’s minimum agricultural wage is based on the recommendations of
the tripartite minimum wages advisory board. After careful
consultations with multiple stakeholders, the state government has
come to the conclusion that this is the minimum daily wage that a
person needs to lead a dignified and respectable life in rural
Jharkhand.”
She said that  the matter time and gain both formally and
informally, but the issues of
growing divergence between the minimum wage and the MGNREGA notified
wage rate as
well as unfavorable treatment of Jharkhand vis-a-vis other states in
this regard is yet to be
satisfactorily addressed.
“I would, therefore, request you to kindly consider the matter of
revising Jharkhand’s MGNREGA wage rate to Rs 224, equivalent to the
state’s minimum agricultural wage rate. Such a level of wage rate will
go a long way to offering a decent and non-
exploitative wage to MGNREGS job-seekers as well as in meeting the Government of
lndia’s aim of achieving poverty-free Gram Panchayats and sustainable
development in
Jharkhand,” she wrote.

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