Activists supporting the cause of villagers working under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) feel that the Centre’s decision to increase the wage rate for workers in Jharkhand is still not enough for the rural populace.
“The Union rural development ministry has increased Rs 18 in the daily wage rate for MGNREGA labourers from April 1. However, despite the increase, the wages are still significantly less than the notified minimum wage rate for unskilled workers in Jharkhand (Rs 274.81).
“We would continue to press the Union ministry for increasing the wage rate so that it is at least at par with the minimum wage rate for unskilled labourers in the state,” said Jharkhand state convener of NREGA Watch, James Herenz.
The NREGA Watch official also informed that they cannot press the Jharkhand government as it is already adding Rs 27 from its own expense for the MGNREGA workers.
“We had a meeting with Jharkhand labour commissioner Rajeshwari B andwere told that the Jharkhand government would continueto add Rs 27 from its own expense to the central government-allotted wage rate forthe state workers,” saidHerenz.
A delegation of state NREGA Watch is continuing to agitate in Delhi against the central government’s decision to reduce the allocation for MGNREGA in the annual budget.
A statement from the Jharkhand public relation and information department on Monday evening cited the central government’s state-wise notification informing about the increase of Rs 18 in the wage rate of labourers in MGNREGA projects from April 1 onwards.
“The state-wise daily wage rate for the financial year 2023-24 under MGNREGA has been published in the gazette by the Union ministry of rural development. The wage for unskilled manual workers working under MGNREGA has been fixed at Rs 228 per day for Jharkhand. The new rate will be effective from April 1,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the wage rate was fixed at Rs 210 for the current financial year 2022-23 by the Union ministry of rural development. It has been increased by Rs 18 for the coming financial year.
At present, villagers in MGNREGA projects in Jharkhand get Rs 210 from the central share and Rs 27 from the Jharkhand government separately which makes the total wage Rs 237 per day.
“The wages per man-day fixed by the government of India is Rs 228 and the Jharkhand government will bear Rs 27 from the state plan head. A total of Rs 255 will be paid to MGNREGA workers in the state,” the statement informed.
Meanwhile, rural development department secretary Prashant Kumar has directed all the deputy development commissioners to ensure the construction of one lakh wells in a span of two years under MGNREGA projects and expedite the implementation of projects under the rural employment scheme.