Among mounting distresses

first_imgModi is not tired of claiming that the country is in safe hands. But the fact is just otherwise. India is in the hands of a person who has a very narrow and skewed vision of future India. Modi has been claiming to strengthen the financial condition of the farmers and for their growth, he has even planned for a gift of Rs 6000 every year. His economic advisors have been busy projecting it as a real economic booster instead of being a mere populist move merely aimed at gaining votes. Also Read – A special kind of bondNotwithstanding Modi’s claim to care for farmers and peasants, his action unravels the truth that he has ignored them to lurch. This fact is simply endorsed by the sharp rise in the demand for work under the NREGA which was highest in the 2018-19 fiscal. Obviously, the question arises; why was it highest? NREGA is certainly not the index of prosperity. It is a known fact demand for unskilled work under NREGA is a symptom of agricultural distress in rural India. The rising demand logically points to the fact the situation of the rural poor is systematically deteriorating. It also underlines that there is already agricultural distress which is forcing the people to depend on NREGA. This also points to the fact that job crisis has deepened tremendously. Also Read – Insider threat managementModi’s hatred and contempt towards rural poor could be understood from the simple fact that in 2015, instead of taking NREGA as an effective instrument to fight poverty, he described it as a “testimony to the failure of previous Congress government”. At one stage he had contemplated abandoning it. “The last five years have witnessed deliberate undermining of the Act, by allocating insufficient funds, not meeting the fund demand on time, delays in wage payments and thereby suppressing work demand”. The NREGA Sangharsh Morcha said at least 88,000 crore should have been allotted towards the programme in the last five years. In February this year, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said the country’s “jobless growth was fast slipping into job-loss growth”. Workers from 50 districts in nine states – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat – protested and tried to lodge FIRs at nearly 150 police stations. It is ironical that a government which has huge money to fund bullet trains and to compensate banks after being looted by big business has no money to pay workers who have done their fair share of work and are now awaiting their wages. The most shameful act of the government was the reply of Modi to the Motion of Thanks to the president’s address in Lok Sabha in March 2015 that he would keep the pet scheme of the Congress NREGA alive as a “living monument” of poverty. Budgets for the scheme were decreased; the gram sabhas were not being allowed to decide the asset creation work and wages much lower than minimum wages were being paid. All this is being done so that no one remains interested in the scheme. Lower allocation has also meant lower amounts in the hands of the states and as such five states now have negative balances and therefore unable to allocate work under NREGA. Telangana had sought 18 crore person-days but got only 8 crore person-days from the Centre.” Obviously for Modi NREGA has no relevance as it failed to serve the interest of the rich and corporate people. But this small amount is of much value for the poor. Chosen for the IAS, small girl Sreedhanya proudly narrates how the rural job scheme made it possible. Sreedhanya’s achievement in Wayanad is the proud gift of NREGA. It falsifies the claim of Modi that NREGA has failed. It is, in fact, evidence that the job scheme was working. The first tribal woman from Kerala to qualify for the IAS told that her parents were beneficiaries of the NREGA. She also said her parents had educated their two children with the money they earned from the rural job guarantee scheme. Modi is anti-rural poor is primarily confirmed by his action of reducing the manpower base of the NREGA. BJP and Sangh parivar are not tired of accusing the previous governments of not doing anything for eradicating poverty. But the fact remains he has not done anything precious to eradicate poverty. It was envisaged that NREGA would be broad-based to fight poverty. Ironically, instead of broadening the beneficiary base, Modi’s obsession has forced his government to chop it that too in the election year. (The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img

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