Call for joint movement to Protect and strengthen MGNREGA
The following is the statement issued on September 5 by the joint meeting of the national leadership of the CITU, AIAWU, AIDWA and AIKS held in New Delhi. THE joint meeting of the national leadership of the CITU, AIAWU, AIDWA and AIKS, are deeply concerned about the developments that are taking place in diluting the terms of MGNREGA and its implementation. The meeting calls upon the rural poor and all those who seek employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to build a joint movement to protect and strengthen the law as the only legal entitlement of the right to work. The meeting was held in New Delhi on August 30, 2014 and was presided over by AIKS vice president S Ramachandran Pillai and attended by leaders of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU), All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS). The meeting appealed to all MNREGA workers, rural unemployed and workers in informal sector all over the country to observe the demands day with mass demonstrations at state/district/block level and submit a memorandum with charter of demands to authorities. The meeting also called on the progressive and democratic elements to join this movement in support of the call to “Save MGNREGA”. The meeting adopted the following charter of demands- 1. The union government must increase the central allocation to MGNREGA to ensure 200 days work at Rs 300 per day and make the implementation of this law effective. 2. Job cards must be provided to all demanding work and a failure to do so within 15 days should ensure unemployment relief. 3. Ensure a minimum of 100 days of work to all job card holders as mandated by the Act. 4. Implement the minimum wage in all states and take legal action against all responsible for delay in payment of wages within the stipulated time. 5. Extend the right to work under MGNREGA to the urban areas as well. 6. Strengthen the role of the gram sabhas as the body to check the proper implementation of the law and prevent corruption.