Bhubaneswar, August 5 (LocalWire): In a move aimed at reducing the seasonal migration of workforce from Odisha, the government has decided to streamline the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) by constituting Sharmik Sangh groups in each of the 51,583 villages of the state.
According to sources, by setting up these groups comprising workers in each of the villages, the government aims to inculcate a sense of involvement in the labour-intensive MGNREGA, thereby enhance the sense of livelihood security of rural settlers and stop them from migrating elsewhere in search of livelihood.
Though the government is supposed to provide a minimum of 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every rural household, the state government has been able to provide an average 38 days’ employment only.
The constitution of Sharmik Sanghs is to pick out the active workers from the village level and amalgamate them in groups.
The government’s strategy is to ensure adequate man-days for each active cardholder in cohesion with government officials.
The welfare package announced for the Sangh members includes social security welfare schemes and skill development and insurance coverage.
“The objective is to raise the workers’ participation from the present 33% to 65% and average days’ employment to 65 days from the present level of 38 days.
That’s why, it has been decided to mobilise all the active job cardholders to form informal groups which will be called Shramik Sangh,” Principal Secretary to the government Deoranjan Kumar Singh stated in a letter addressed to all district collectors in the state.
“It has been observed that Odisha’s performance under MGNREGA has tremendous scope for further improvement.
With the mandate to arrest the migration in migration prone area and ensure effective convergence for sustainable livelihood development, it is felt to relook the strategy of implementation.
For this to happen we need to focus on active job cardholders and provide them with a minimum average 70 days wage employment,” the letter noted.
Singh further highlighted that for every active job card holder, bank accounts shall be opened for the maximum number of family members and a separate job card should be for adult married couples, whenever possible.
“One deserving, old or differently-abled person per group shall be identified for distribution of drinking water and managing creche.
The benefits of social security assistance under Indira Gandhi National Widow pension and Madhu Babu Pension Yojana may be extended to physically challenged persons and widow member of Shramik Sangha,” the letter explained.
The groups, which is to be formed by 30 August, will be provided training so that over a period of time the members of each of these Sharmik Sanghs can move out of manual labour and become a semiskilled and skilled worker.