New Delhi, April 27

A platform of five unions of agriculture workers has said that the Union Rural Development Ministry’s decision to use the National Mobile Monitoring System to take real time attendance of MGNREGS workers is an attempt to further dilute the scheme. The leaders of the five unions told reporters here on Wednesday that the monitoring system is unnecessary as the works under MGNREGS are piece works.

The All India Agriculture Workers Union President, A Vijayaraghavan, said the aim of the new system is to dilute the MGNREGS. “The Centre had taken a number of steps to weaken MGNREGS and MGNREGA. Through the new system, the Centre takes real time attendance of workers at MNREGA worksites, along with geo-tagged photographs of workers twice a day, one before 11 am and the second after 2 pm. This is an unnecessary step as the work under MNREGA is piece work,” said Vijayaraghavan.

All India Agriculture and Rural Labour Association leader Dhirender Jha said such a system will not bring transparency, rather it is a move to further cut down the allocations to the scheme. He said the scheme has proved its worth in providing employment in rural India, especially during the pandemic.

The leaders said taking encouragement from the experience of farmers, the agriculture workers will also form a national platform, and an all-India convention of various agriculture workers’ unions will be held on May 16. “All issues of agriculture and rural workers will be discussed in this all India Convention and a charter of demands will be adopted for future struggles,” said Vijayaraghavan.

The leaders said with the mechanisation of agriculture and indiscriminate use of labour displacing technology, working days in agriculture have been reduced. “Agricultural workers are not getting enough work to support their families, hence are forced to seek alternate work in village or migrate to other places,” they said, and added that the policies of the Centre have adversely impacted lives and livelihood of the working class during the last 25 years. “This is high time that MNREGA must be extended to urban areas. But the BJP-led Centre is busy spreading communal hatred on one hand and on the other hand is assisting the corporate houses in looting the resources of the country have different priorities,” said the leaders.