Odisha urges Centre to raise rural jobs’ wage rate

Bhubaneswar, Nov 21 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure adequate fund flows for rural jobs under MGNREGA for easing the suffering of people facing drought situation in the state.

In a letter to the prime minister, Patnaik also urged for increasing the wage rate fixed under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for Odisha to Rs.200, the minimum wage for unskilled labourers in Odisha.

The MGNREGA workers presently get Rs.174 per man day.

Odisha is facing severe drought situation due to scanty rainfall this monsoon while, as per preliminary report, a drought like situation is prevailing in 139 blocks of the state’s total 314 blocks.

To deal with the situation, the Odisha government has decided additional 50 days of work under MGNREGA scheme in drought affected blocks against 150 days of work being provided by central government, Patnaik said.

“The increase livelihood support to workers, the state government has decided to provide 30 percent extra wages as drought allowance to the MGNREGA workers over and above the wage rate fixed by the government of India,” the chief minister said in the letter.

While the present daily wage rate for unskilled labourers in Odisha fixed by Centre is Rs.174, the state government would provide Rs.52 as drought allowance from its own resources totaling Rs.226 to be paid to the workers under the scheme, he said.

Patnaik requested to make an enabling provision in the NREGA software to enable the state government to provide the extra incentives to the workers.

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