A group of eminent citizens and members of civil society have written to the Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar; demanding immediate measures to implement the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). For the reason of dealing with the economic crisis resulting from the current nationwide lockdown. Individuals such as Harsh Mander, Yogendra Yadav, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Jean Dreze and many others signed the letter.
Contents Of The Letter
The letter states that the country is facing an extraordinary unemployment crisis which is likely to last for several months. The letter makes a few recommendations for implementing the rural employment scheme in the next three months; including additional budget allocation of at least Rs 1 lakh crore. The eminent citizens also request the government to implement the scheme and make work available to all, particularly through the release of advance funds to Gram Panchayats to start works under the scheme.
“We are writing to request you to take urgent and immediate steps to enable this scheme to respond to the economic crisis being faced by the country today”
“Due to an unprecedented unemployment crisis which is likely to last for several months; there is a tremendous demand for work under the scheme across the country. The Government should respond to this demand urgently as the lives and livelihoods of millions are in question. Given the legal obligation and the infrastructure already in place; using NREGA creatively will go a long way to help the poor in this time of need.”- the letter states.
Moreover, they demand the simplification of the procedure of application for job cards which are necessary to find work under the scheme; also suggest the emulation of an urban employment guarantee program based on this scheme. Along with this, the letter demands that dry rations be provided; in addition to full minimum wages in cash for the next three months. The letter also seeks payment of full wages to people not permitted to work because of the existing medical advisory until they are allowed to resume work.