Economy

Covid-19: NSM demands emergency relief package for poor households

Our Bureau Pune | Updated on March 25, 2020 Published on March 25, 2020

The NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM) has demanded that the government give an emergency relief package of ₹7,000 each for poor households in the country for the months of April and May.

The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to affect the informal labour force, agricultural workers, small and marginal farmers, MGNREGA workers, old-age pensioners, widows, the differently-abled, slum-dwellers, the homeless and other such vulnerable communities.

The NSM is the national platform of workers’ collectives, trade unions, organisations and individuals engaged in public action on the MGNREGA. In a press statement, the group said the package of ₹7,000 per household for two months would require ₹3.75 lakh crore (1.92 per cent of the GDP).

The NSM has also demanded that the poor covered under the government schemes must be supplied with free ration along with cooking oil, pulses, salt, spices, and soap for three months (April, May, June) in advance. “Ensure availability of cooked meals twice daily at least till the end of May. This can be made available at the kitchens used for mid-day meals or as part of peoples’ kitchen schemes in different States” the group suggested.

Advance payment

The NSM has also demanded advance payment of three months’ pensions (April, May, June) to each pension-holder under the NSAP and immediate clearance of all pending liabilities of wages and materials to the tune of ₹8,396 crore under the MGNREGA.

“Pay all registered MGNREGA workers their full wages during the lockdown period and ensure an immediate transfer of the first instalment of the PM-Kisan scheme. Also, ensure clearance of all pending instalments under the PMAY programme and the SBM programme,” NSM demanded in the letter to the States and the Central government.

The group has also suggested that Covid-19 specific requirements, such as the making of masks and sanitisers, can be brought under the admissible works under MGNREGA. This will ensure the functioning of MGNREGA while public works with many workers in close proximity continue to be a health hazard.

The NSM’s demand has been supported by 53 eminent personalities including professors, economists and activists.

Published on March 25, 2020
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