MGNREGA scheme to be linked with specific textile sectors not entire textile sector

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-09-22 16:30:00 – New Delhi

Textile Minister Santosh Gangwar had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon after taking charge requesting him to link the entire textile sector, including garments and fibre, to MGNREGA, rural job scheme.

But, the Prime Minister’s Office has ruled out including the entire textile sector under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA). The scheme will link only specific sectors within the textile industry such as handicraft and handloom.

The MGNREGA scheme is already available for the silk cultivation sector. The proposal of including the handicraft sector in the scheme, which was also being explored by the earlier UPA regime, is now being followed up by the new Government as well.

The Rural Development Ministry does not want to tamper with the existing scheme and they have been told that the textile industry, as a whole, cannot be included. But, specific sectors, depending on their vulnerability, will be considered, a Textile Ministry official said.

Under the MGNREGA scheme, the Government guarantees minimum wages for a minimum 100 days in a year for every household.

The textile industry, especially the garment sector, has been demanding for long that the scheme be available for workers employed by it. Garments producers complain of labour shortage during peak demand season, as many workers prefer to work under the MGNREGA schemes.

But the Rural Development Ministry is of the opinion that many within the textile industry, including garment producers, can afford to offer more than the minimum wages given by the Government to attract labour. The textile sector is the second largest employment generating sector after agriculture in the country employing about 35 million people.

According to the Rural Development Ministry only sensitive sectors such as sericulture that need support should be integrated with the scheme.

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