The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) provides livelihood security to rural poor. Under the scheme job cards are issued to people living bellow poverty line. The job card holders are entitled to 100 days’ work every year. The minimum wages paid vary from state to state and are between Rs 60 to Rs.100
Under the act NREGA beneficiaries enjoy certain rights. Some of these rights are:
• Equal pay for men and women.
• Mandatory payment of wages within a week, or fifteen days at most.
• Wages should be paid in public. When wages are paid, muster rolls should be read out and Job Card entries should be made.
• Those workers who live more than 5 km away from the worksite, are entitled to a travel and subsistence
• Childcare facilities for those who have young children at the worksite
However since they are illiterate, most beneficiaries of the MGNREGA scheme are not aware of their rights. So, corruption has become rampant in NREGA scheme. In most cases women heads of the village are not aware of the scheme’s details and their husbands take advantage of this and steal the money.
Ajeet Bahadur, our correspondent has experienced poverty and has witnessed a lot of corruption at the lowest level of the society. Ajeet feels, there has to be a vigilance system to take note of the cases where the poor workers are denied their wages. Because since these are poorest of the poor, losing even a week’s wage could mean pushing themselves into utter misery. While shooting this video in Bahadurpur block of Allahabad, Ajeet faced resistance and threats from the village panchayat head’s husband.