The Central Government submits its status report before Hon’ble Supreme Court stating the steps taken by the government and state government to ensure that the relief reaches to every rural household during the lockdown. The status report was filed in reply to PIL filed by Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey in order to give assurance that relief to workers and rural stakeholders are being provided by the government. Both the activists showed concern towards the poor and migrant workers whose livelihood is been impacted amid lockdown due to COVID-19.
The government in the status report explained the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment (MGNREGA) scheme, which enhance the livelihood security in rural areas. Under the scheme adult member of every household is provided guaranteed wage employment to do unskilled manual work. To make sure that the relief reaches to both poor people and migrant workers to combat the difficulties amid COVID-19, the central government has announced Rs. 1.70 lakh crore relief package under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
The report enhances the salient features of the package as follows:
- Under the insurance scheme, insurance cover for Rs.50 lakh will be provided to health worker fighting COVID-19.
- Poor people will be provided with five-kilogram wheat or rice and one kilogram of preferred pulses free of cost every month for the next three months.
- Women who are holding accounts under Jan Dhan scheme, will be given Rs. 500 cash per month for next three months.
- For next three months, poor families registered under Ujjwala Scheme will be provided with one gas cylinder per month for free.
- The wages under MNREGA is increased from Rs. 182 to Rs. 202, which is likely to benefit 13.62 crore families.
- The government would give Rs. 1000/- to poor citizen, poor widows and poor disabled.
- Under the PM Kisan Yojana, by first week of April the government would distribute Rs.2000/- to farmers.
- Those wage earners, earning below Rs. 15,000/- per month in businesses having less than 100 workers would be provided with 24% of their monthly wages in their provident fund per month for next three months.
- Further the central government has ordered the state governments to utilize the Building and Construction Workers Welfare Funds in providing relief to construction workers and support the registered workers.
Further the government clarifies that states and union territories has set up 23,924 relief camps as per the directions of the central government where they are providing food, shelter and medical facilities to the migrant workers. The facility is provided to poor, stranded migrant workers who reached to their destination but are kept in quarantine as per the standard health protocol.
The status reports showcase that the government is trying to deal with issues related to all MGNREGA registered households and other entitled stakeholders are being taken care of by central and state government during the lockdown amid COVID-19.