Jharkhand MGNREGS workers likely to get a hike of Rs 31 in minimum wage

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Labourers working under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) are likely to get a hike of Rs 31 in their minimum wage in Jharkhand soon, as the state government has decided to increase the wage from Rs 194 to Rs 225 from its own pocket.

The state rural development department has finalised a draft to this effect, and it is expected to get the government’s approval soon. A high level-meeting is scheduled in this regard on Monday, officials said.

Chief minister Hemant Soren, on occasion of one-year of government’s celebration, said, “MGNREGA is a lifeline for rural poor people. But, people do not show much interest due to poor wage. So, we have decided to enhance the wage from the existing amount fixed by the Centre at Rs 194 to Rs 225 from the state exchequer.”

Labourers working under MGNREGS get much lower minimum wage than the state’s minimum wage rate. State’s minimum wage is Rs 283, while a MGNREGS labourer gets Rs 194 as minimum wage.

State MGNREGS commissioner Sidhartha Tripathy said, “There are provisions in MGNREGS under which a state can increase the minimum wage of workers from its own exchequer. Several states like Bihar and Odisha have already done it.”

When asked if the state needs consent from the Centre in this regard, Tripathy said, “The Centre’s consent is not required in it, but we need to request Centre for creating a separate column for the state’s wage contribution in the management information system (MIS) of MGNREGA. It’s a process of just 30 minutes.”

In a bid to raise workers’ income, the state would also request the Centre to revise the CFT (cubic feet) provision per man-day for labourers working under MGNREGS, rural development officials said.

A worker’s man-day under the Centre’s scheme is considered after he digs 73 CFT soil in Jharkhand. In other words, a worker gets the minimum wage of Rs 194 after he digs 73 CFT soil in Jharkhand. MGNREGS labourers in Andhra Pradesh get the minimum wage after digging just 28 CFT. In Chhattisgarh, it is 48 CFT, officials said.

However, a time-motion study is begin carried out in Jharkhand by the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) for revision in the CFT rule. Jharkhand has already achieved man days target of 8 crore this year. The state had requested the Centre to revise it. The Centre has set new target of 9 crore man days.

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