In Arunachal Pradesh, MGNREGA was first implemented in Upper Subansiri district way back in 2006, for which personnel were recruited on contractual basis at the block and GP levels after adhering strictly to the recruitment procedures.
During 16 years of service, we have devoted ourselves for the successful implementation of the programme despite harsh reality and unfavourable economic conditions.
The operation area of MGNREGA has widened manifold since its inception, and induction of technology in all spheres of work has made the whole process challenging.
In other words, the nature of the MGNREGA works has evolved tremendously as compared to the initial years, transforming it into a time-bound goal-oriented e-programme. And as a result, most of the staffers find themselves preoccupied round the clock with their laptops and mobile phones on one hand and rigorous field visits to far-flung areas on the other hand, with little time to spare for other economic activities. This has all put them into economic hardship, and with a meagre fixed salary of Rs 8,000-12,000 per month, they are finding it difficult to sustain in this rapid inflation era.
Grievances have been placed more than once in the form of memorandums to the authority concerned, but till now there is no positive action.
Among all the grievances, the most important are: (a) Enhancement of meagre staff salary at par with inflation cost index; (b) Adoption of advancement increment policy for contractual employees after completion of certain years and additional 20 percent increment as career advancement increment on gross salary; (c) Absorption in regular cadre.
It is witnessed in the recent years that there has been mass fresh appointments of contractual staff under MGNREGA taking place in all the districts of Arunachal Pradesh. There are 2,031 MGNREGA contractual staffers (as per MIS report, 22/05/2022) who are drawing salary from the state MGNREGA administration fund. In other words, any fresh appointments should not be a hindrance in redressing our grievances on the pretext of exhaustion of state administration funds.
Alternatively, extra vigil and cross-checking of newly appointed MGNREGA staff details, appointment orders and recruitment procedure adopted at district levels should be examined to avoid any legal complications.