June 5, 2021 9:38:15 am
Senior CPI(M) Brinda Karat has written to Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, questioning the intent behind an advisory sent to states to segregate wage payments under the MGNREGA into separate categories for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and others.
The advisory, she said, mandates the states to ensure social categorization in every aspect of the implementation of the law— from the projected expenditure for anticipated demand among SC/ST households in the Labour budget, to separate State level accounting for wage payments to SC and ST categories, to utilization certificates and so on.
“However, no reason has been given for this extreme bureaucratisation which will, given past experience of the delays on various counts on payment of wages, affect precisely the SC/ST sections who will become victim to these separate accounting and banking procedures,” said Karat, a politburo member of the CPM.
“Why is this necessary? The advisory to State Governments does not give any cogent reason for this. However, there is a sentence in the advisory which raises serious doubts as to the intent of the
Government. It is stated: “All stakeholders may ensure action in a time bound manner so that funds maybe released accordingly.”
Pointing out that MNREGA is a universalized programme for any adult living in rural India who is willing to do manual work, she said “the budgetary provisions are made for the implementation of the law as a whole. Thus, this cannot be determined by any new interpretations of the law to introduce a policy of divisible allocations by social categories, which is what the advisory appears to be.”
In a demand-based universal programme for provision of work, she said “allocations can only be based on expected demand for work. Linking categorization with allocations will undermine the basis of the law which, as stated above, is both demand based and also universal in its eligibility criteria.”
She asked the government to clarify the reason for issuing the advisory.
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