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Pay advance wages to workers registered under MGNREGA, Sonia tells govt.

Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi  

Party slams cut in interest rates on small savings and the Public Provident Fund

Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to consider paying advance wages to workers who are registered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

Ms. Gandhi’s letter to Mr. Modi, third since the announcement of the lockdown, came a day before the Congress Working Committee (CWC) would have its first ever video-conference meet to discuss the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stating that the MGNREGA has been a critical lifeline for the rural poor during economic distress, Ms. Gandhi said, “Devoid of an alternative source of income, an increasingly large number of the rural poor are expected to demand work under MGNREGA.

 

“However, social distancing norms have rendered all work unfeasible during the lockdown. Furthermore, even after the works commence, the MGNREGA workers have to wait for more than a month to receive wages. Given the urgency of providing income support to the rural poor, due to lost wages, the government may consider immediate advance payment of wages for 21 days to registered and active MGNREGA workers.”

The Congress president suggested that the advance wages can be adjusted against the work to be done after the MGNREGA sites are opened up for regular work.

The party slammed the government for reducing the interest rates on small savings and the Public Provident Fund (PPF) amid fear of income loss because of the pandemic.

In a series of tweets, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said it may be technically correct but the timing is wrong.

“In times of acute distress and uncertainty about income, people depend on the interest income on their savings,” Mr. Chidambaram said, demanding a roll back.

The government must reconsider immediately and restore old rates until June 30. I know that sometimes government acts on stupid advice, but I am amazed how stupid this advice was!” he said.

At the official online briefing, spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said the decision is a warrant of loss to approximately 30 crore depositos.

“The impact of this ‘interest rate cut decision’ at this sensitive juncture amounts to loss of ₹19,000 crore income per year for the depositors and windfall gain for the BJP Central govt.,” Mr. Shergil said.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 7:24:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sonia-gandhi-asks-pm-to-give-21-days-wages-in-advance-to-mgnrega-workers/article31226796.ece

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