Bhubaneswar: Highlighting the difficulties faced by returnee migrants due to reduced economic activities following the Covid pandemic, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik demanded the Centre to increase the labour budget for the State under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
In a letter, Patnaik requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enhance the labour budget for the State to 25 crore person days for 2021-22.
As demand for wage employment under the MGNREGS in villages jumped, there is a need for increase in the labour budget for Odisha, the Chief Minister pointed out. Also, he drew attention of the Prime Minister on significant number of returnee migrants who have stayed back due to reduced level of economic activities under the pandemic.
The Chief Minster also wrote the State is yet to receive Rs 1,088.72 crore liabilities – Rs 377.91 crore as wage component and Rs 710.81 crore as material component under the MGNREGS.
He sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to direct the Ministry of Rural Development for timely release of funds for wage and material payment under the job scheme.
“Timely payment of wages to the poor jobseekers is the fundamental guarantee under the MGNREG Act. Similarly, timely release of payment for material is critical for creation of tangible and durable assets under MGNREG,” the letter read.
Patnaik, however, expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister for taking robust measures for the economic revival in rural area in the post-pandemic period.