‘Use MGNREGA funds to fight COVID-19, clear dues to workers’

Former MP R. Dhruvanarayan has urged the State government to take immediate steps to not only clear the outstanding dues towards work already executed by job card holders under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme, but also to use the funds under the scheme to fight the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas.

Addressing a press conference in Mysuru on Friday, the former MP sought to draw the government’s attention to the provision under MGNREGA scheme for distribution of medical kits containing soap, sanitizer and mask, besides spraying disinfectant in villages.

He cited the examples of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, which had already made use of the provision. Rajasthan had already sprayed the disinfectant in 38,000 villages. Andhra Pradesh is also making use of the funds made available under MGNREGA to fight COVID-19.

The Centre had set aside ₹61,500 crore this year for MGNREGA scheme for the entire country. It is upto the States to make use of the funds, Mr. Dhruvanarayan said and urged the Chief Minister to come up with an action plan in the regard by convening a meeting of Minister of Rural Development and senior officials responsible for implementation of MGNREGA scheme in Karnataka.

Mr. Dhruvanarayan, a Congress leader, who had earlier represented Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha constituency, said more than ₹500 crore was due to the MGNREGA scheme job card holders in Karnataka. “This is the amount due to them for the work they had already done over the last one or two months”, he said.

In H.D. Kote taluk, which is part of Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha segment, the dues were in excess of ₹4 crore. If all the more than 6,000 gram panchayats in the 165 taluks of the State are taken in account, the dues may be in excess of ₹500 crore. The State government should take immediate steps to clear the dues and provide relief to the rural populace in the State, he added.

Former Chairperson of Mysuru Paints and Varnishes H.A. Venkatesh and Mysuru District Congress president B.J. Vijaykumar were present on the occasion.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 8:02:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/use-mgnrega-funds-to-fight-covid-19-clear-dues-to-workers/article31318879.ece

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