Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking advance payment of 21 days’ wages to MGNREGA workers to compensate them for loss of income during the 21-day lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus.
“Given the urgency of providing income support to the rural poor, due to lost wages, the government may consider immediate advance payment of wages for 21 days to registers and active MGNREGA.The advance wages may be adjusted against the work to be done by the workers, once MGNREGA sites are opened up,” Gandhi wrote.
She said lakhs of agricultural workers have been left unemployed during the harvesting season.
“Devoid of an alternative source of income, an increasingly large number of the rural poor are expected to demand work under MGNREGA . However, social distancing norms have rendered all works unfeasible during the lockdown,” the Congress chief said and requested Modi to take immediate action and extend support to nearly eight crore rural workers in the country.
Last week, the Union finance ministry had announced a relief package worth Rs 1.70 lakh crore under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana to help the poor tide over the crisis.
The lockdown which will be in force till April 14, has short-circuited the labour market in the country and has thrown thousands of migrant workers in the country jobless.
It had also triggered a rush by migrant workers to head home to their villages. In their rush to get back to their villages thousands of migrant workers had gathered at the Delhi-UP border in Anand VIhar to take buses to several destinations in Uttar Pradesh.
The throng of crowds and packed buses also raised fears of further spread of coronavirus that the lockdown had intended to check.
Published at Wed, 01 Apr 2020 11:38:35 +0000