A network of individuals and organisations agitating for the rights of workers covered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act on Saturday wrote to Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar saying that the Centre has not yet revised the wage rates for the 2018-’19 financial year.
The NREGA Sangharsh Morcha also said the wage rates were lower than the minimum wage in 29 states and Union Territories in the country. “The difference is greatest in Tripura, where the MGNREGA wage rate is only 58% of the state minimum wage for agriculture,” the letter said. “This ratio is 59% for Sikkim, 64% for Gujarat and 65% for Andhra Pradesh.”
The NREGA Sangharsh Morcha demanded that the revised wage rate for 2018-’19 be implemented immediately. It said that after the new wage rate is set, workers should be compensated for the difference in rates in the 2017-’18 and 2018-’19 financial years.
The group also asked the government to fix the MGNREGA wage rate at a minimum of Rs 600, as the Seventh Pay Commission had recommended a minimum monthly salary of Rs 18,000. It said that adequate budget allocation should be made for MGNREGA so as to meet the work demands of all rural households and ensure payment of wages on time.
In October 2017, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha had alleged that wages amounting to over Rs 3,000 crore had been frozen in 19 states, and labourers have not been paid.