Nizamabad: Uncertainty looms over rural workers

Board that exhibits employment guarantee work details
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Board that exhibits employment guarantee work details

Highlights

  • Centre limits employment for only 100 days for a family under the scheme
  • Those employed under NREGS for more than 100 days have been directed not to be given employment in this financial year
  • Therefore, to eke out a living to run the family in the remaining 265 days these labourers will have to seek employment in big cities

Nizamabad: The rural poor are facing uncertainty with the imposition of new regulations under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(MGNREGS) which limits the employment under the scheme to only 100 days.

Rural labourers employed under NREGS for more than 100 days have been directed not to be given employment opportunities in this financial year.

Rural labourers are getting ready to migrate to the cities as those who have worked for a hundred days as per the regulations will not get employment till next year. With the latest decision of the Union Ministry of Rural Development, whosoever is working for Palle Prakrutivanam Haritaharam as a "Vanasarakshakulu" and "Vanasevakulu" across Telangana are worried about losing the employment opportunities. More than 6,000 rural labourers in Nizamabad and Kamareddy districts alone will not be given employment by the NREGS officials this financial year.

Nurseries, Palle Prakruthi Vanam management and maintenance work under the Haritaharam scheme in Kamareddy and Nizamabad districts are in full swing. Vanasevakudu, and Vanasamrakshakudu were appointed for every 400 plants in the gram panchayat to protect them. The daily wage is being paid from NREGS to these labourers. They have to water the plants to prevent them from wilting, set up a tree guard and protect them from being eaten up by animals. Up to 5,243 rural labourers across Kamareddy and Nizamabad districts have been guaranteed employment with these works till date. With the latest provision of the Government of India, millions of rural laborers in Telangana State are likely to migrate to the cities to eke out a living. Those who have worked for more than a hundred days will have to be replaced by new ones. Mandal APOs are busy in the same business. Problems arose when Vanasevakudu, who was currently working, had to be abruptly removed.

They are concerned about the removal of those who will take care of the plants and get livelihoods by doing the job where they are reside. Those who have lost their jobs now will be re-employed from April next year. It is very worrisome. According to this decision, they will have to lose their jobs for another hundred days. They will have to migrate to cities or starve to death. Officials say the sudden removal of workers could jeopardise protection of plants. There are 530 panchayats in nizamabad district. There are 2,10,150 rural labourers holding job cards under MGNREGS. Kamareddy district consists of 526 villages in 22 mandals. As many as 2,84,644 residents of these villages have job cards under the MGNREGS.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), launched in 2005 by the Congress government at the Centre, had promised to provide at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult member volunteers to do unskilled manual work.

On the other hand, the BJP-led Central government, which had followed the scheme so far, has suddenly drawing a deadline of 100 days, causing unrest among the villagers.

The demand for the removal of the new rule that a family should be employed for only one hundred days is being heard loudly from the rural laborers. For example, if three people in a family have an NREGS job card, their employment guarantee quota will be completed within three months. The rest of the time is going to be empty. That is why it is said that it is better to bring at least 150 days rule. While the people are facing financial hardships across the country and, particularly MGNREGA has been the only hope of the rural people in the time of pandemic, this kind of thoughtless decision of the BJP government at the Centre will drive more people into poverty and hardships.

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