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CPI-M Organises Protest against MGNREGA Fund Cuts

A day after Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore the funds cut from MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) rural employment scheme in the state, the CPI-M is all set to organise demonstrations across the country, including at parliament house in New Delhi Nov 26, to protest against the curtailment of MGNREGA scheme by the central government, a party leader said here Thursday.

Tripura Chief Minister and CPI-M politburo member Sarkar said that he will lead the protests in front of the parliament in New Delhi.

"The CPI-M members will organise mass demonstrations in front of the central government offices across the country to protest against the steps taken by the union government to curtail and dilute MGNREGA," CPI-M central committee member Bijan Dhar said.

He said curtailing MGNREGA and its impact on the rural population is a "burning issue in the country now".

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently, Sarkar urged him to restore the funds cut under MGNREGA for Tripura. "The union rural development ministry has increased its allocation of funds under MGNREGA for Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and some other states but reduced central allocation for Tripura," Sarkar said in the letter.

He said that although Tripura under MGNREGA topped all states, providing 87 days of work per household in the 2013-14 fiscal against the national average of 45 person-days, the state’s allocation had been sharply reduced.

"Tripura received Rs 943.66 crore during the last financial year (2013-14). The union rural development ministry informed that it would provide Rs.652 crore during the current fiscal (2014-15) despite the ministry having approved the labour budget of Rs.1,406.96 crore under the MGNREGA for the ongoing financial year."

The minister has mentioned in his letter that under MGNREGA guidelines, the central allocation would have to be released in two instalments, but the Union ministry has so far provided Rs.373 crore in three instalments.

"The unemployed and uneducated rural people, including tribals, minorities, scheduled caste, other backward communities and women, would be affected due to the reduction of funds under MGNREGA," Sarkar said in his letter.

According to Tripura rural development officials, the state has retained the top position for the fifth consecutive year by providing 87 person-days rural jobs per household during the 2013-14 fiscal.

(With inputs from IANS)

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