Ramesh pitches for hike in MGNREGS wages

Ramesh pitches for hike  in MGNREGS wages

Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) needs to be amended to bring wages under the scheme on a par with the minimum wages guaranteed by law. 

He said a panel of experts was studying how the wages of the MGNREG scheme could be brought on a par with the Minimum Wages Act 1948.  

“There are 14 states, including Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Rajasthan, where rural job wages are lower than minimum wages. There is a need for parity in the MGNREGS wage rates and the minimum wages, wherever the former are lower than the latter,” he said. 

Ramesh was speaking on the occasion of the ninth MGNREGA Divas here. Though the Rural Development Ministry issued circulars to the state governments stressing on convergence of MGNREGS and agriculture, Ramesh on Sunday noted that only about 10 per cent of farmers had so far availed the benefit and undertook land leveling and irrigation schemes on their land under the rural job scheme. 

He also noted that only 15-20 per cent of the MGNREGS workers had so far been covered under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). He asked the officials to augment the coverage of the RSBY among the workers. 

Section 6 of the MGNREGA fixes different wage rates in different states and Union territories, since the scheme is formulated and implemented by the State governments or Union Territory administrations as per Section 4(1) of the law. 

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