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Congress for advance payment to MGNREGA workers

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 01, 2020 Published on April 01, 2020

Congress spokesman Jaiveer Shergill   -  THE HINDU

Wants rate-cut on small savings schemes rolled back, waiver of interest on loans

The Opposition Congress has criticised the decision to cut interest rates on small savings, the mega merger of banks and urged the Centre to consider immediate advance payment of wages for 21 days to registered and active MGNREGA workers.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the wage advance may be adjusted against the work to be done, once MGNREGA sites are opened up. She said the MGNREGA has been a critical lifeline for the rural poor, particularly during periods of chronic economic distress.

“Lakhs of agricultural workers have been left unemployed during the crucial harvesting season. Devoid of an alternative source of income, an increasingly large number of the rural poor are expected to demand work under MGNREGA. However, social distancing norms have rendered all works unfeasible during the lockdown. Furthermore, even after the works commence, MGNREGA workers have to wait for more than a month to receive wages,” the letter said.

“Given the urgency of providing income support to the rural poor, due to lost wages, the government may consider immediate advance payment of wages for 21 days to registered and active MGNREGA workers. The advance wages may be adjusted against the work to be done by the workers, once MGNREGA sites are opened up,” she said.

Questions merger of PSBs

Meanwhile, as ten public sector banks merged to become four, the Congress questioned the proposal of the Centre. Party leader and spokesman Jairam Ramesh said he had opposed it in Parliament.

“Today two pioneers in Indian banking — Andhra Bank & Syndicate Bank — lose their distinctive identity. Andhra Bank was started by stalwart Congressman B Pattabhi Sitaramayya and Syndicate Bank by the great TMA Pai. I am not a supporter of bank mergers at all and opposed it in Parliament,” Ramesh tweeted.

The party also said by cutting the interest rate of small savings, the Centre has added to the woes of common people. Terming the decision ill-timed and irrational, Congress spokesman Jaiveer Shergill said the decision affects 30 crore depositors and snatches the income of 90 crore individuals. “On behalf of INC, looking at the worsening economic crisis, we demand two things from the BJP government, One: Withdraw the ill timed order cutting interest rate on saving schemes and two: the Centre must announce a loan interest waiver scheme,” Shergill said addressing reporters through video conferencing.

Published on April 01, 2020

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