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Study finds workers not keen on NREGS works in Seema districts

Study finds workers not keen on NREGS works in Seema districts
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A five-member study team with NREGS workers in Anantapur district on Wednesday
Highlights

Anantapur: Delay in wage payments, works being physically demanding and banks adjusting NREGS wage amounts to crop loans without the consent of the NRE...

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Anantapur: Delay in wage payments, works being physically demanding and banks adjusting NREGS wage amounts to crop loans without the consent of the NREGS workers are some of the reasons attributed to poor turn out of workers despite government increasing number of work days from 100 to 150, by the five-member study team representing several NGOs across the State.

The team represented by Chakradhar Buddha of NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, K Venkateshwarlu of Upadhi Hami Phone Radio, R Bujjibabu of Ambedkar Association, DGV Kumar of Basha Trust and S Siva of Samalochana Association, who went on a study tour throughout the State and particularly Rayalaseema districts observed that average person days of work provided in 2018-19 as of today in Anantapur stands at poor 67.6 days, Chittoor 60 days, Kadapa 66.3 days in spite of person days of work enhanced to 150 days from 100 days this year due to drought.

In Anantapur, 77,970 families completed 100 days out of 7.98 lakh families which is less than 10 per cent. In Chittoor, 63,010 families completed 100 days out of 6.75 lakh families and in Kadapa, 55,100 families completed 100 days out of 5.44 lakh families.

The workers told the team that fulfilling the tasks assigned under the NREGS has become physically demanding, especially cattle ponds, fish pond works due to soil becoming very hard due to prevailing drought conditions. Single woman, poor senior citizens and disabled seem to be worst hit due to poor implementation of NREGS. Besides, added to their woes are the banks snatching away wages of workers.

Workers are alleging that the banks are taking away their NREGS wages towards crop and DWCRA loan repayments without their will. They maintained that without their consent the NREGS payment agency has been changed from post office to banks. In most villages, the workers were complaining of non-payment of wages from November 2018.

That's hampering the workers turnout. Workers are not turning up due to inordinate delays in payments. In Anantapur district alone, about Rs 76 crore wage payments corresponding to 87 lakh transactions are pending. Some of the workers are waiting for their wages from September 2018. In Chittoor, Rs 59.5 crore worth wages are pending corresponding to 7.07 lakh transactions and in Kadapa, Rs 41.7 crore corresponding to 6.41 lakh transactions.

Most of them are out of NREGS and getting engaged in other works which are physically most taxing but paid on daily basis. The workers also complained of non-issuance of pay slips while officials admitting the same says that it is due to shortage of stationary.

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