Wages under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act get lowest annual hike
29 March 2019: Ministry of Rural Development has notified state-wise wages for unskilled work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for the year 2019-20. The notification will be effective from 1 April 2019.
The notified wages translate to a 2.16 per cent average annual hike — lowest since the promulgation of the Act in 2005.
Workers in Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshdweep will see no annual increase in their daily wages this financial year, while workers in another 15 states will get a daily wage hike of between ₹1 and ₹5. Daily wages will increase by ₹1 in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and ₹2 in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. With the new notification in place, wages for MNREGA work has gone below the Agricultural Minimum Wage in 33 States and Union Territories.
Average wage hikes have been going down over the last few years. For 2018-19, it was 2.9 per cent and in the two preceding years it was 2.7 per cent and 5.7 per cent increase respectively.
The low wage hike has come at a time when demand for work under the Act is at its peak due to aggravating distress in agricultural sector resulting in lack of farm jobs in rural areas. The number of person-days registered under MNREGA as on 28 March has reached 257 crore person-days as against 233 crore last year, highest since 2010-11.
Industrial Security forces fire at people demanding jobs and compensation
18 March 2019: Over 500 contract workers and displaced people from Rangopali, Potagada, Bundel, Bandhuguda and other villages in Lanjigarh protested at the gates of Vedanta Alumina Limited’s Lanjigarh refinery in Odisha demanding regularisation of jobs, the promised employment for displaced persons, health care facilities, education for their children and compensation for their land acquired. The Odisha Industrial Security Forces, an armed force created by the state police to protect industrial establishments including private establishments opened fire on the peaceful protestors killing 1 and injuring over 30 people. The district administration imposed Section 144 in Lanjigarh and surrounding areas to stifle protests