Tamil Nadu government would accord preference to former Makkal Nala Paniyalargal (or village-level workers) and their legal heirs in providing them employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) with enhanced wages, Chief Minister M K Stalin informed the Assembly on Friday.
The former MNP workers, who are willing, would be appointed as project coordinators in all the 12,524 village panchayats in the State. The legal heirs of the workers, who had died in the past 10 years, would also be given preference in assigning work under MGNREGS as coordinators, the Chief Minister said.
Refuting the charge made by former AIADMK Minister Sellur K Raja that the DMK was distributing medicines at people’s doorstep through the MNP, Stalin said the AIADMK regime abolished the MNP posts whenever the DMK government tried to revive the scheme.
In 1989, the DMK government led by the then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi launched the Makkal Nala Paniyalargal Scheme through the Rural Development Department on September 2 that year to provide employment to the educated youth in the 12,617 village panchayats. Government orders were issued for appointing the MNP to each village panchayat to look after the maintenance of basic details of the panchayat, safeguard its assets, encourage people in small savings and the duties assigned by the Commissioner of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj.
In 1991, the AIADMK government came to power and abolished the scheme, he said. “The DMK government restored it in 1997 and the AIADMK annulled it in 2001. We resurrected the scheme in 2006 but again your government did away with the MNP scheme in 2011,” Stalin said.
Following a litigation, the Madras High Court gave a verdict in 2014 re-instating the workers but the AIADMK regime obtained an interim injunction from the Supreme Court against the High Court ruling, the Chief Minister said. “Now, the case is sub judice. Considering the long-pending demand of the MNP, the government consulted legal experts, and decided to give preference to former MNP workers in providing employment under the MGNREGS subject to Supreme Court’s judgement,” the Chief Minister said.
They would be provided a monthly honorarium of Rs 7,500 after enhancing the sum already fixed at Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 and providing an additional sum of Rs 2,500 considering their work in village panchayats, he said.