Two months after Uttar Pradesh government launched a campaign to give incentives for the scheme of giving 100-day employment to 10 lakh marginalised families under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS),it has become a bone of contention between the Centre and the state government.
Under the initiative,the state had decided to appoint a nodal agency,identify civil society organisations and give them incentives for ensuring 80 to 100 days employment to most backward and deprived families in the state.
The Centre has asked the state to immediately withdraw its initiative,calling it contrary to the law and the provisions to give incentive to NGOs a move to introduce commission agents.
On its part,the state government has shot off a 10-page rejoinder,defending its move. The campaign is not contrary to the provisions of law and we have explained this to the Union Ministry of Rural
Development. There is a provision to appoint NGOs under NREGA to mobilise workers and we have done the same. Even Andhra Pradesh government is giving a similar incentive to its Rojgar Sewaks, said Manoj Kumar Singh,state Secretary of Rural Development.
He added that Uttar Pradesh had taken the initiative to ensure that more marginalised families get MGNREGA benefit and we hope the Union government would be satisfied with our reply.
The campaign named 10 lakh marginalised families 100 days employment was launched in August.
The state government has already appointed NR International Ltd as a nodal agency.
The survey to identify marginalised and deprived families across the state is underway and is to conclude by November 12.
According to a government order issued on August 25,civil society organisations will get Rs 80 incentive if a marginalised family identified by them gets 80-days employment and they will be paid Rs 120 if such family gets 100 day-employment.
In a letter,Amit Sharma,Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Rural Development,asked the state government to immediately withdraw the government order.
He said that since demanding 100 days work under MGNREGA is a workers right,giving incentive to organisations is wrong.
The order appears to have the effect of making civil society organisations work like commission agents or contractors,which is not permissible under MGNREGA, said Sharma.
The Ministry has also informed the state government that Union Ministry of Rural Development had instituted an award for NGOs or civil society organisations who work to mobilise NREGA workers and it is called Rozgar Jagrookta Puruskar.