Telangana’s Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development K.T. Rama Rao has become the recent voice to have expressed his opposition to the Centre’s proposal to downsize Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). He is of the view that the move will have far-reaching consequences on rural economy.
The minister said, “Telangana Government is highly concerned about the reports of downsizing the scheme that had provided a real voice and choice to the poor and vulnerable sections of the society.”
Almost 95 per cent of households in the state’s rural areas were dependent on the scheme directly or indirectly for wage employment and the any effort to limit it would seriously upset their earnings, he explained. Highlighting strong disagreement, the state’s legislature has adopted a resolution demanding continuation of the scheme.
In the state, MGNREGS was being implemented in nine rural districts covering 443 mandals. “About 25 lakh households, 45 per cent of the households enrolled for the scheme, were being provided wage employment every year, and about 95 per cent of the beneficiaries were from the SC, ST, BC communities and most vulnerable groups such as Chenchu tribe, Rama Rao added.
He also claimed that the scheme had helped increase the average daily wages from meagre Rs.30 to about Rs.150 and deterred distress rural-to-urban migration by about 44 per cent.