‘State, not Centre, paid MGNREGA wages’

Karnataka paid wages amounting to ₹500 crore: Deshpande

Since the Union government did not have the money to pay for wages under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the Karnataka government paid wages amounting to ₹500 crore from its exchequer, Revenue Minister R.V. Deshpande said here on Monday.

Addressing presspersons at the Congress office in Hubballi, Mr. Deshpande said that the total dues towards MGNREGA wages from 2016-17 stood at ₹2,100 crore. “When we asked the Union government for the release of the amount, they said they did not have money at present and told us to pay the wages from the State government ‘as a loan’ and they would repay it later. Accordingly, we have paid ₹500 crore to job card holders,” he said.

Mr. Deshpande said that while Congress was seeking votes based on the performance of governments led by it, the BJP were seeking votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said that unemployment had increased during Mr .Modi’s rule and now, despite the much hyped Make In India, industrial output growth had slowed down in the country. The NDA government had failed in ensuring industrial growth and addressing the issues of unemployment. Its promise of generating two crore jobs every year had just remained unfulfilled, he said.

The life of farmers had been adversely affected. When in rule, the UPA government had waived off farm loans worth ₹72,000 crore to help farmers. “Now the farmers are in distress, the debt burden has increased due to drought and floods. The previous Congress government and present coalition government have taken steps to waive off farm loans. But the NDA government has not waived off loans. Instead, it is still promising to issue credit cards with the limit of ₹1 lakh to the farmers,” he said.

To a query, he said that the issue of a separate Lingayat religion was not a poll one now. He negated reports that Congress candidate Dharwad Vinay Kulkarni was seeking votes based on his caste. “I have canvassed along with him and he has never sought votes on caste lines. We need the support of every community,” he said.

On the Uttar Kannada elections, he said that despite opposition from him and Margaret Alva, and despite the Congress being strong in Uttar Kannada, the seat was given to JD(S). Also, as loyal Congress workers they were working for the win of the coalition candidate, he added. Prasad Abbayya, MLA; and Altaf Hallur and Anilkumar Patil, district unit presidents, were present.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 4:00:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/state-not-centre-paid-mgnrega-wages/article26848242.ece

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