Keonjhar: Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Odisha Government has decided to provide minimum wages to all the workers under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in Keonjhar district.
ln order to help the rural poor in Keonjhar district cope with the immediate economic impact of the pandemic and to prevent them from falling deeper into poverty, all MGNREGA workers in Keonjhar district will be paid the minimum wage during the FY 2020-21, a release by Office of the District Information & Public Relation Officer, Keonjhar, stated today.
As per the decision, the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) will provide the minimum wages to all MGNREGA workers in the district by increasing the wage rate from Rs 207 to Rs 298, a rise of about 44%, for the same number of days.
“The current MGNREGA wage rate of Rs 207 per person per day will be ‘topped up’ with Rs 91, in order to match the minimum wage rate of Rs 298, notified by Labour & ESI Department, Government of Odisha, by utilizing the funds under District Mineral Foundation (DMF) Trust,” said Ashish Thakare, Collector-cum-Chairman and Managing Trustee of DMF, Keonjhar.
Implemented at a cost of Rs 95 crore under DMF during FY 2020-21, more than 3.78 lakh active workers in Keonjhar are expected to directly benefit from the initiative. With the move, a rural household in the district that completes 100 days of wage employment will now be able to earn as much as Rs 29,800 a year, under MGNREGA.
With this historic step, Keonjhar becomes the first and only district in the country to provide minimum wages to all MGNREGA workers, by utilizing the unprecedented opportunity offered by the DMF.
It is to be mentioned that MGNREGA is the largest wage employment programme in the world and aims to enhance the livelihood security of households in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment a year to every household whose adult members volunteer to work.