Latehar (Jharkhand): As a mark of protest, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) workers in the Manika block of Latehar have in separate envelopes returned their “meagre" ₹ 5 wage hike to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May Day (Sunday).
Enclosing the money with a letter, the workers affiliated to the Gram Swaraj Mazdoor Sangh “expressed concern" at the “meagre" hike as they felt that the central government was facing “paucity of funds", otherwise the wages would have definitely increased in tune with Jharkhand’s minimum daily wage which is ₹ 212.
The minimum wage under centrally-sponsored MGNREGA in Jharkhand is ₹ 162 and after the hike it stands at ₹ 167. “...but we are fortunate that increase in 17 other states was less than ₹ 5. It appears that the labourers in Odisha have become prosperous as their wages have not been increased," the letter said.
Further, the affected workers, including women, said in the letter that they felt the centre’s monetary need was more than theirs as the central government’s expenditure was more. “Pondering over all these factors, we, the MGNREGA workers, in unison, have decided to return to you the five-rupee hike with the hope that you may make happy companies, friends and employees," the letter concluded signing off “labourer" as the sender.
The MGNREGA workers took out a protest rally under the banner of “Gram Swaraj Mazdoor Sangh" and held a meeting to mark the day on Sunday, a press release by the protesters said.