Hundreds of workers engulfing vast areas of the country are valiantly protesting at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar against the establishment of digital presence to monitor MGNREGA workers.
The workers state that due to technical defects in this new rule, they are being marked absent and their wages are also being deducted.
Organizations are determined to prolong the protest for the next 100 days and every week workers from different parts of the country are assembling here and staging a relay strike.
In fact, on the call of NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, MNREGA workers have been relentlessly protesting at Jantar Mantar for the last 12 days. Workers from West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and other states of the country also conglomerated in it.
It is notable that in the current financial year, the National Mobile Monitoring Software for allocation of very low budget, getting work and attendance in MNREGA. New app system claimed NMMS application has been implemented.
The protesting workers demand that NMMS should be scrapped immediately. One of their basic demands is that the workers should be given an unconditional guarantee of work and a guarantee of payment.
Indeed, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, popularly known as MNREGA or NREGA, is a flagship scheme created with the purpose of enhancing the welfare of the rural household’s security, by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed employment.
NREGA Sangharsh Morcha member and activist Nikhil Dey said that the app fulfils no purpose as payment under this scheme is made evaluating the measurement of work. The present system will be unable to detect whether the work is being done or not.
He says that, “This is a violation of the human rights of the workers. Apart from this, it has been decided to do away with the hard copy of muster rolls.”
Yogendra Yadav has also been critical in no uncertain terms on this matter. He tweeted that if the attendance was not displayed, then the government would not give the money. Even the contractors have not degenerated as much. After all, what is Modi’s problem with the middle class and the poor? Modi government is simply sold on ending MNREGA.,which would deteriorate the condition of the poor .
It is significant that in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on February 7, Minister of State for Rural Development Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti had said that ‘Saathis’ are being encouraged to undertake responsibility of marking the attendance of workers through the mechanism of NMMS app and the Ministry sending out.
He also said that training will be given to the States/UTs for smooth transition to the app.
While on one hand, the Modi government has formulated the budget allocated for MNREGA every time in the last 9 years, on the other hand, the scheme of digital attendance on rural sessions is going to intensify pressure on the labourers.
Establishment of NBMS illustrates the designs of the ruling government to strangulate the working class, extracting labour by barely providing fruits. It is patronised by globalisation. By eradicating MNREGA the rulers re paving the way for labourers to be at the complete mercy of the corporates..
Such protests are saving any remnants left supporting welfare of labourers.
Harsh Thakor is a Freelance journalist who has covered mass movements around the country