MNREGA job spike to take some load off Congress in Rajasthan
For four years, Pista Sargara (55), a long-standing job card holder under the MGNREGA, approached her panchayat office in Bhilwara Lok Sabha constituency desperate for any work under the scheme. She was turned away each time. The turnaround came in January 2019 when she finally got some digging work, along with 50-odd women from nearby villages, for a ground-water conservation project taken up by the Shivpur panchayat.
At Rs 199 a day, the Central government-notified MGNREGA wage rate for Rajasthan is Rs 26 less than the state’s minimum wage. On the ground, the pay is half this amount and it comes with a month-long delay. Yet, for Pista and many such as her, any bit of paid work counts. In the season of political grandstanding, Pista knows what she would vote on. Pointing to the ditch she has dug for conserving whatever little rainwater the region receives, she says in Mewari, “Mandir ne khade me nako, mane toh raasan ka gehu do (Temple can go to that pit. I am more concerned about geting my ration).”