Port Blair, June 07: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is an employment guarantee scheme which ensures 100 days of employment as a legal entitlement to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual labour. The Act made right to work a legal right ensuring basic income security to the rural masses.
The role of MGNREGA is a lifeline for the working poor in rural India and has been proved once again with the experience of the COVID-19 induced nationwide lockdown. Once the economic activities came to a sudden halt in urban areas these workers had to turn back to their areas of origin wherein they got opportunity to work under MGNREGA and earn livelihood.
Likewise other parts of nation, the unemployed rural workers of Andaman & Nicobar Islands got suitable employment under MGNREGA to earn livelihood and overcome the economic crisis in the lockdown situation during the previous year. With the revised guidelines of the lockdown, MGNREGA work was allowed from 20thApril, 2021 andall the needy households got work.The UT managed to generate 2.90 Lakh persondays (116%) against the approved target of 2.50 Lakh persondays.
But due to non-availability of fund under MGNREGA with the UT,payment of wages to the MGNREGA workers was pending for the last few months. With the sincere and continuous efforts of administration, the Ministry of Rural Development, GOI has released an amount of Rs.584.88 Lakh to clear the pending wages of previous year as well as make payment of wages for first three months of the current financial year 2021-22.
The Director (RD/Panchayat), Mr. Vinay Kumar Jindal has informed that on 03.06.2021 the fund was received in the State Nodal Account of MGNREGA and the same was immediately released to the District/Blocks of the UT for payment of wages. All pending wages to tune with Rs.450 Lakh is being released to the beneficiaries and shall be credited into their Bank account within a week.
Mr. Suneel Anchipaka, IAS, Secretary (RD/Panchayat)/Commissioner (MGNREGA) has informed that the Ministry has assured to release sufficient funds for wages as well as material and administrative expenses in future. Therefore, he has requested the MGNREGA implementing agencies (District/Blocks) to take up more number of works under MGNREGA ensuring COVID-19 protocols and provide employment to all needy beneficiaries under MGNREGA so that they may earn their livelihood during this pandemic situation.