`Migration of rural workers to urban areas must be curbed'
`At least 100 days employment during lean period should be ensured' Rise in prices blamed for Congress defeat in polls
GULBARGA: The All-India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA) on Wednesday demanded that the Union Government extend the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) to all districts in the country to prevent the migration of agricultural labourers, particularly women, to urban pockets in search of employment.
Addressing a press conference here, president of AIDWA and former MP Subashini Ali pointed out that 40 per cent of the women agricultural labourers in the rural areas migrated to urban areas every year due to the absence of employment opportunities in their villages. The Government could effectively curb the migration of rural workers to urban areas by ensuring at least 100 days employment during the lean period by covering the whole country under NREGS.
Ms. Ali said the migration could not be effectively stopped mainly due to the ineffective implementation and failure of the officials in charge to provide a minimum 100 days work. She said Karnataka, which had a strong panchayati raj, system had a good opportunity to utilise the scheme by effectively curbing the migration.
Andhra Pradesh had done extremely well in utilising the funds under NREGS.
Ms. Ali praised the Bidar district administration for providing 80 per cent of employment to women under NREGS and this should be copied by others.
The Union Government, which was harping on reforms in all sectors, should change the rigid rules in NREGS and direct the implementing agencies people seeking employment should be compulsorily provided 100 days of employment.
Ms. Ali said the period between April and July was the lean season in rural areas when there is no agriculture work and officials should take up employment generating works in villages.
She pointed out that the Congress suffered setbacks in the Punjab and Uttaranchal Assembly elections due to the steep raise in the prices of the essential commodities.
Ms. Ali also wanted budgetary allocations for women development activities and health and education increased considerably and effective measures taken to end the discrimination and oppression of Muslim women in the name of religion.
She said the "Nikah" in Islam was being misused to harass women and the divorced women were also not being given maintenance as provided in the Shariat.
The AIDWA proposed to take up a nationwide campaign to ensure equal rights for Muslim women and end their oppression.