Harish Rao slams Centre's move to dilute Employment Guarantee scheme

Finance Minister T Harish Rao said on Tuesday that the Centre's decision to dilute the National Employment Guarantee scheme

Harish Rao

Harish Rao

HYDERABAD: Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao said on Tuesday that the Centre's decision to dilute the National Employment Guarantee scheme would have a debilitating impact on the country.

In a letter written to Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, he alleged that the Centre was conspiring to scuttle the development of Telangana. It is now robbing 1,21,33,000 labourers of their right to guaranteed employment with 57.46 lakhs of them being those from Telangana. The Employment Guarantee Scheme was aimed at providing income and food security to the poor, he said.

The Telangana Minister pointed out that the Union Minister for Employment Bhupendar Yadav stated in the Rajya Sabha that salaries to the tune of nearly Rs 10,000 crores were pending across the country and alleged that the amount allocated in the recent budget would only go for the arrears in the scheme.

Harish Rao questioned the Central Government's proposal of Universal Basic Income (UBI) in the Economic Survey conducted in 2017-18, which stated that the Centre should take steps to provide a minimum annual income of Rs 72,000 to 30 percent of the families in the country. He said that the Centre was making meaningless provisions and cutting funds while undermining the Employment Guarantee Scheme which is the right of the poor.

He said that the circular issued by the Centre was harmful to the interests of Telangana. He said that the circular directed the working class to take their photos and upload them before 10 am and for the second time before 5 pm. He questioned how it was possible to work for eight hours in summer. He demanded an increase in the wages in tune with the rising prices and also enhancement of the working days to 300 days.

Harish Rao further said that it was inhuman to not include precautions that the labourers need to take while working in summer or monsoon. The Minister said that the Centre was delaying the payment of wages by harassing the labourers and making them open new bank accounts like never before.

"It is clear that such actions are being taken with the strategy of dissuading the labourers from the employment guarantee scheme before finally scrapping it," he said, adding that the Centre was working with an agenda of undermining the schemes meant for the poor and gradually derailing them. The Minister also found fault with the plan to allow leaders, who lost the local body elections, to supervise the Guarantee schemes.

While stating that the Telangana government was undertaking many types of works through the National Employment Guarantee Scheme, he was livid with Centre for its decision to allow only 20 works to be taken up in villages.

"The decisions mentioned in this circular will weaken the rural economy of Telangana. Landless poor and small marginal farmers will suffer financially. The Centre is taking such selfish decisions as part of a conspiracy to harm Telangana," said Harish Rao.

He also lamented that Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's resolution to link the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to agriculture was ignored by the Centre.

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