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India: Why NREGA workers are returning Rs 5 to PM Modi today (Labour Day)

1 May 2016

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1 May 2016

Shri Narendra Modi

Prime Minister of India

Dear Prime Minister,

This year your government has increased the wages of NREGA workers in Jharkhand by five rupees (from Rs 162 per day to Rs 167 per day). We feel very lucky, because in 17 states the increase was even less. It sounds like NREGA workers in Odisha are now considered very well-off because their wages have not increased at all.

Actually, we are very concerned. The government must be really short of money if it is unable to raise NREGA wages to the minimum wage, that too when one third of the rural population is affected by drought. (For your kind information, the minimum wage in Jharkhand is Rs 212 per day.)

We feel that you need the extra five rupees more than we do, since your government has so many expenses. To implement the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission, you will have to spend an additional Rs 1 lakh crore at least on salaries and pensions of government employees. Defence expenditure is about Rs 2.5 lakh crore. You must also be spending a lot of money on tax concessions for big companies, aside from giving them cheap land and other resources.

Considering all this, we NREGA workers have made a collective decision to give up our extra wages for a day and return the extra five rupees to you. We hope that this will help you to keep your corporate friends and government employees happy.

Your faithful workers,

Name .......... Job Card No ....

see the original letter in Hindi

इस वर्ष आपकी सरकार ने नरेगा में हमारी मज़दूरी 5 रुपये ही बढ़ाया [text of NREGA workers letter to P.M. Modi 1 May 2016]
Letter by NREGA workers to prime minister Modi

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