Kerala

Welfare fund board for MGNREGS workers soon

The State government is planning to promulgate an Ordinance for a welfare fund board for Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) workers. A first such initiative by a State, this would provide them with pension, medical assistance, educational assistance for their children and other benefits.

The welfare fund has been under the government's consideration for the past few months, but with the prevailing COVID-19 situation the Bill could not be presented in the Assembly. Now, the plan is to promulgate an Ordinance to get the scheme started.

The benefits will be for workers who have completed the age of 60 and have paid contributions for not fewer than five years. For those who have paid the contributions for not fewer than 10 years, their families will get the benefits in case of the beneficiary's death. The workers who have completed the age of 60 will be entitled to pension, even though they are allowed to work until the age of 75. The fund also provides medical assistance, educational assistance for children, funds for marriage and also family benefits. The workers will have to pay a nominal monthly amount of around ₹50 as contribution. The detailed rules are being framed.

Curbs may go

"We have 20 lakh active workers under the MGNREGS and they all stand to benefit. In addition, there are around 2 lakh workers in the Ayyankali Employment Guarantee Scheme who can also join in this welfare fund. Those who take part as stop-gap arrangements will not be considered," said a source in the Local Self- Government Department.

The government is also planning to remove the pandemic-time restrictions regarding the maximum age of workers permitted to take part in MGNREGS works. After the pandemic began, the maximum age of workers was reduced from 75 to 65 as per an order from the Home Ministry.

"Although we have had several phases of unlocking restrictions, there have not been any mention about this particular one from the Centre. Due to this, many are unable to get work. About one lakh people would be benefited if these restrictions are removed. The State government is considering relaxation of the restriction considering this fact," said the source.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 4:27:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/welfare-fund-board-for-mgnregs-workers-soon/article32909086.ece

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