This is an issue from the District Ambedkarnagar, Block Jalalpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, about a Government income generation scheme that is not implemented and executed properly in the last mile.
The Scheme is ‘Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005’ (MGNREGA) - a labour law, a social security measure that aims to guarantee the 'right to work’. Under this act, every rural household who volunteers to do unskilled labour will be provided at least 100 days of paid work by the government.
The idea is to employ workers for the creation of various long term fixed assets such as wells, ponds, roads and canals in rural India. The criteria for eligibility is kept simple so that a large number of rural people can benefit as long as they are adults and reside in the local area.
The workers are issued one Job Card, a document that identifies an individual registered with the local Gram Panchayat under this scheme. A job card allows individuals in rural households to apply for paid work with the Gram Panchayat in their local area, ensures transparency of the process and protects workers from possible fraud. This Job Card can also be used to complete KYC (Know Your Customer) at banks and post offices for opening bank accounts.
The issue in Shyampur village under Jalalpur Block is that a few villagers started working without the job card, all in good faith, with the assurance that they will be given the job card soon and they will be paid without the job card.
Soon they realised that they had stepped into a trap. They are told that because they are from the Cobbler (Chamar) community, they will get a lesser daily wage and their job card is being sent to them. With that tiny amount of irregular wages and the stress of no job cards is pushing them further to spiralling poverty and they are on the verge of starvation. They are worried about their children’s future, their education, and most importantly, their next meal. They are so vulnerable and fearful that they assume if they complain, they will lose whatever the little work and pay they were getting - an example of systemic exploitation.
Community Correspondent Gayatri Devi, upon hearing their misery and gross violation of this important Government scheme, talked to the Block Development Officer of Jalalpur. He was astonished to hear these issues of the Shyampur Village and squarely blamed the Village Head and his nepotism. He promised to take strict action about this irregularity and see to it that all the deserving people get their Job Cards soon.
Hope you will share this video to reduce acts of nepotism and mismanagement at the village level.
Avijit Adhikary is a journalist with nearly 8000 days of field experience till date. In the past two decades, he has witnessed the ebb and flow of the media industry in India, with ripples felt in his region too. This includes the rise of digital media, the decline of print...