NDA tweaking MGNREGA to benefit contractors: Activists

The BJP-led government’s attempts to make changes in the UPA’s flagship rural job scheme has triggered a controversy, with activists stating that the move would open the door for contractors and cut benefits to unskilled workers.

The activists protesting against the Government’s move to change the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on Wednesday made public some official documents accessed through the Right to Information Act. The documents revealed that Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari overlooked concerns expressed by a section of officials of his ministry and give go ahead to alter the prescribed ratio of wage and material components of the project costs.

Gadkari recently gave the go ahead to the Ministry of Rural Development to make necessary changes in the Schedule I of the MGNREGA to alter the wage-material ratio from 60:40 to 51:49.

But according to the documents released by the MoRD in response to a plea filed under the RTI Act, the Joint Secretary in charge of the division implementing the programme had pointed out that the change would run “contrary to the spirit” of the MGNREGA, which was enacted to create “employment opportunities for the unskilled workers during the lean agricultural season”.

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