Visakhapatnam

Students demand social security benefits for MGNREGS workers

Reality check: Students interacting with MGNREGS workers during their project, at Munagapaka in Visakhapatnam district.

Reality check: Students interacting with MGNREGS workers during their project, at Munagapaka in Visakhapatnam district.  

Write open letter to Collector, submit memorandum to Labour Department

Highlighting the plights of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) workers, a group of 20 high school students has appealed to Collector K. Bhaskar that it’s time the beneficiaries of the job guarantee scheme got social security entitlements on par with the construction workers.

Ground study

The students wrote an open letter after studying the problems of MGNREGS workers from Munagapaka mandal, about 45 km from the city, as part of a project titled ‘Understanding rural realities’ being implemented under the aegis of Samalochana Association.

The students interacted with more than 150 workers from six different work sites, officials and activists associated with the MGNREGS, and prepared a report on the problems being faced by the workers, suggesting some measures to address the issues.

The team on Wednesday submitted a memorandum to the Labour Department officials at Anakapalle and volunteered to mobilise the MGNREGS workers by collecting relevant documents from the beneficiaries for membership.

‘No insurance cover’

“The MGNREGS workers are toiling in the hot sun carrying heavy loads on their heads and climbing steep slopes. They are exposed to risks. We were told that the workers do not have any accidental or health insurance and financial support post retirement. Even basic facilities such as shade at the work sites and tools are denied to them,” B. Niruthi and Dhruti, two member of the student group, said.

Another two students, Manaswi and Sampath, observed that the workers should get paid leave. “It is not right on the part of the government to deny wages to the workers for not working on Sundays and other holidays. In case of sickness, accident or any other health issues, the workers should be paid wages so that they can meet medical expenses,” they said.

Vamsi and Deekshith pointed out that the government was providing insurance, financial support in case of weddings, pregnancies and educational scholarships to children of construction workers, which still eluded the MGNREGS workers.

‘Enhance wage’

The students also represented that the daily wage of ₹ 211 should be enhanced.

Bujjibabu from Ambedkar Association, Munagapaka, acted as guide for the project.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 5:37:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/students-demand-social-security-benefits-for-mgnregs-workers/article27142590.ece

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