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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 20 April 2024 6.48 AM IST

70 days guaranteed in NREGS, relief for 15.50 lakh families, Kerala to cross 10 crore working days

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: 15.50 lakh families in the state can breathe a sigh of relief as the Centre reinstates reduced working days. Under the employment guarantee scheme, these families securing their livelihood can now expect an average of 70 working days.

This comes after the Centre restored a whopping one and a half crore working days, bringing the state's total to 9.50 crores, equivalent to the previous year. The state government is now pushing to surpass 10 crores working days this year ensuring an average of 70 working days compared to last year's highest average of 63 working days per household.

The Empowered Committee of the Union Ministry of Rural Development, in its meeting on the 10th of this month, increased the labour budget to 9.5 crores.

Families reliant on job security faced concern when the Centre initially cut working days. However, continuous intervention by the state government has paid off reaching the target. Last year, the state exceeded expectations with a record achievement of 9.65 crore working days despite the initial target being 9.50 crores.

In the financial year 2023-24, working days were initially reduced to 6 crores, causing worry. After the State Government's explanation of Kerala's performance, the Centre added two crore days, bringing Kerala's total to over eight crores by December. Now, with the state crossing eight crore days, the Centre is ready to restore working days to the previous year's levels.

In a recent meeting led by the Chief Minister, the central decision to cut working days was strongly opposed by the Kerala government. Kerala is pushing for an increase in working days to 10.7 crores this year and the Centre has assured consideration if the current 9.50 crore days are surpassed.

Families receive a maximum of 100 working days, earning Rs 333 per day. Kerala stands at the third position in terms of fixed wages with Haryana offering the highest wage at Rs 357 followed closely by Sikkim at Rs 354. Wages are fully covered by the Centre, even if families work more days than allowed.

The state government, along with indentured labourers protested against the gradual reduction of working days in Kerala. Their efforts including a demonstration in Delhi have successfully pressured the central government.

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