NREGA boon for lakhs of lockdown-hit poor in Odisha
The MGNREGA scheme, which was launched by the UPA government, has turned out to be a boon for the lakhs of lockdown-hit poor in Odisha.
In a span of just two months from April 21 to June 21, the state has created six crore mandays under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). During this period, the second wave of Covid pandemic was at its peak and Odisha’s economy was shattered by lockdown and weekend shutdown. People found it tough to get work to sustain their families.
“Labourers working under the MGNREGA programme will get additional Rs 50 per day assistance above the daily wage. The state government will bear Rs 300 crore towards the increased wage from April 21 to June 21,” said chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
Official sources said during this period the government created six crore mandays under MGNREGA.
Under the funding pattern of the scheme the central government bears 100 per cent cost of unskilled labourer, 75 per cent of the cost of the semi-skilled and skilled labourer, 75 per cent of the cost of materials and six per cent of the administrative cost.
Concerned over the financial condition of the weaker sections of the society that has been badly hit by the pandemic, the Odisha government has also announced a special Covid assistance of Rs 1,690.46 crore for these vulnerable groups. “The move will benefit landless farmers, construction labourers, urban poor, tribals, State Food Security Act beneficiaries, MGNREGA workers and divyang students,” said Naveen.
Similarly Rs 260 crore worth of work would be provided under the Mukta Yojana (Mukhyamantri Karma Tatpara Abhiyana) which is currently being implemented to provide employment to the poor people residing in 114 municipal areas up to December 2021.
“Similarly beneficiaries under the Food Security Act will get five kg rice each for free from July to November 2021. The state will bear Rs 92.86 crore towards the distribution of the free rice,” said the chief minister. The state government also announced Rs 1500 special Covid assistance for each registered under construction worker in the state and plans to spend Rs 360 crore on this head only.
“Our government is committed to the upliftment of poor whether they reside in urban area or rural areas,” said Subash Singh, former union leader.
Under the package announced by the government as many as 17.38 lakh families of landless farmers will get special assistance of Rs 1,000 each under the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme. “Rs 207 crore assistance will be provided to the landless farmers in three instalments under the KALIA scheme,” Naveen said.
The state also announced that Rs 33.1 crore financial assistance would be provided to 66,214 tribals from 13 particularly vulnerable groups.
“Each tribal family is entitled to get Rs 5,000 assistance and the amount will be directly credited to the bank account of the family,” said the chief minister.