Patnaik Seeks Centre’s Sanction For MGNREGA Allowance

In Odisha, a total of 36,10,797 active workers are listed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent 21-day lockdown, these workers have been deprived of work.

To minimize the trouble of such labourers and to cover the job losses that the COVID-19 lockdown has caused, the Odisha government has sought the Central government’s permission to pay the unemployment allowance to workers engaged under the MGNREGA. The BJD government has estimated an expenditure of ₹380.39 crores which is to be distributed to the workers as unemployment allowance.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written a letter to PM Modi seeking the sanction of the estimated amount. He stated, “To protect their livelihood, an amount of ₹380.39 crore, which is one-fourth of the wage rate as per the MGNREG Act, will be spent, while we are taking all preemptive steps as a nation to minimize the damage due to COVID-19, a global pandemic. We must also see that the suffering of the people, particularly those at the bottom of the pyramid, is minimized”.

To avoid any further delay, the state government has urged the Centre to release unemployment allowances directly to the bank accounts of active MGNREGA workers.