Hyderabad: Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has slammed the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre and TRS Government in Telangana State for erratic implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)
He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of 5-day training program for organizing informal and agriculture workers organised by Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) in collaboration with International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) as Dr. G.S.R. Institute of Labour Studies & Research in Hyderabad on Monday.
Utttam Kumar Reddy as a senior legislator he has observed and compared the conditions that prevailed in rural areas before and after the implementation of NREGS. He said NREGS was a well thought of scheme which provided Right to Work to the poorest of poor citizens in rural areas. He said that scheme was launched on a massive scale which covered about 2.5 lakh villages in 674 districts. Besides ensuring their survival, it also increased their purchasing power. He said NREGS was a revolutionary scheme which improved crores of lives in thousands of villages in the country. However, he said Prime Minister Narender Modi's government has been trying to dilute the scheme and by delaying payments to the MGNREGS workers, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao's Government was killing the actual purpose of its inception.
The TPCC chief said contrary to the claims of being the richest State in the country, TRS Government has not cleared the payments of MGNREGS workers for the last several months. Either the State Government's claims on being the rich State are wrong or the government is having wrong priorities, he said.
Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that TRS Government has been violating the provisions of NREG Act without even considering its negative impact on rural poor. He said as against the law for clearing the payments within 15 days, MGNREGS workers have been denied payments since the last four months. He said that the Congress party would not allow such violations to continue. He said the issues concerning NREGS workers would be raised in the Assembly and Council by the Congress legislators. He praised the INTUC for its efforts to mobilize the NREGS workers and said it would be ultimately benefit lakhs of poor families in villages of Telangana State.
Earlier, AICC Secretary R.C. Khuntia said that the BJP Government has been trying to curb the activities and rights of trade unions to promote a select few companies. He said in a population of over 125 crore, only 5 crore people fall in the category of organized workers. He said these numbers were on a decline due to measures like cost-cutting or other lay offs. He said there was an urgent need to mobilize the workers in unorganized sectors. He said besides NREGS workers, people serving as Anganwadi workers, non-formal teaches, Health Mission workers, Beedi workers, etc., need to be mobilized.
Khuntia said that the previous UPA Government has made several laws like Vendors Act, 2014 to protect the rights of workers in unorganized sector. He said there were several laws like Building Workers Act, 1995 in existence that could benefit crores of workers in unorganized sectors if they are properly implemented. He also stressed on the need to resolve the problems being faced by migrant workers. He informed that nearly 33,000 migrant workers are likely to benefit from the Amnesty announced by Kuwait Government. He said nearly 10-15,000 of these workers hail from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. He asked the TPCC Chief to give prominence to migrant workers issues as they are spread across 25 Assembly and four Lok Sabha segments in Telangana.
INTUC national president Dr. G. Sanjeeva Reddy explained the reasons for launching the initiative to organise agricultural workers. He said those living in villages must realise the power of organisation which could guarantee them economic and political empowerment.