Warangal: 'Govt ignoring field assistants' offer to call off strike is undemocratic

‘Govt ignoring field assistants’ offer to call off strike is undemocratic
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‘Govt ignoring field assistants’ offer to call off strike is undemocratic

Highlights

Central government’s GO 4779 leaves both the field assistants working with MGNREGS as well as Panchayat Secretaries upset

Warangal: Unless something dramatic happens, it's all but over for nearly 1,200 field assistants who went on strike opposing the government's new conditions imposed on them for renewal of their contracts.

It may be recalled here that field assistants who have been working with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) went on a strike following the Central government's GO 4779 that says that the field assistants who failed to provide work to the job card holders for 40 days in a financial year would be removed from the service.

This apart, the new clause also categorised pay structure of the field assistants based on their performance. Despite the government's warnings, the field assistants continued their strike.

Against this backdrop, the government has decided to entrust the responsibilities to panchayat secretaries so that the NREGS works without any hassle. The government also issued orders to organise a one-day orientation training session for the panchayat secretaries and other officials before August 15.

"Even though the field assistants have offered to call off the strike unconditionally to rejoin duties, the government ignoring their call is undemocratic. Already the panchayat secretaries are entrusted with many responsibilities and adding more to it will be burdensome, especially NREGS works," Mekala Ravi, the CPI Warangal Urban Secretary, told The Hans India.

On the other hand, the junior panchayat secretaries are unhappy with the government's decision to deploy them for NREGS works. "Already we are working no less than 12 hours a day covering various programmes in addition to our regular duties.

The salary we get that is Rs 15,000 is far less than the regular panchayat secretaries', but we discharge similar duties," a junior panchayat secretary said on the condition of anonymity.

The quantum of additional duty that the panchayat secretaries have to bear include – receiving applications for registration, verifying registration applications, issuing Job Cards (JCs), receiving applications for work, maintaining attendance and muster rolls, ensuring worksite facilities and updating job cards of the workers regularly, facilitating Gram Sabha meetings and social audits etc.

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