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Workers demand increase in NREGA wages, work days

“After peaking at 0.6 percent(of GDP) in 2009-10, Central government expenditure on NREGA declined steadily to 0.3 percent in 2015-16 and 2016-17,” he said.

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New Delhi, Sep 11 : Scores of workers and activists today staged a protest here demanding an increase in wages and work days under the NREGA scheme.

They also alleged that the Centre is “diluting” the scheme through budget cuts, low wages and delay in payments.

“Its like slow poison to kill the National Rural Guarantee Act (NREGA),” said activist Anuradha Talwar.

The women working under the rural employment scheme complained of low wages and delays in payments in their respective states.

“I get 10-15 days in a month and the payments are never on time. The wages are also less than what is expected to be paid,” said Galku Devi from Rajasthan.

Under NREGA, workers from rural areas are guaranteed 100 days work. They are also eligible for a stipulated wage of Rs 192 per day within 15 days of completion of work.

Nikhil Dey of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghtan said the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, the umbrella organisation seeking improvement in implementation of the scheme, has raised the demand of hiking the wages to Rs 600 and increasing number of work days to 240.

“NREGA wages have been held constant in real terms since 2009. In the last two years, the wages have increased by as little as one rupee per day in some states,” he said.

The activists also charged that the use of technology has further “hampered” smooth functioning of the scheme.

“The workers as needed to get their numbers listed with Management Information System(MIS) and bank accounts where the wage payments are to be made. This is just one example how cumbersome it could make the scheme,” said Professor Ritika from IIT Delhi.

Another NREGA activist from Rajasthan, Mukesh, highlighted “glaring lapses” in social audit of the scheme and how, despite a demand from the rural workforce, no jobs were available for them.

“After demonetisation, large number of workers have returned to their villages and want work. But, there is no work for them due to several reasons including budget cuts,” he said.

NREGA budgets have been “inadequate” for several years, Dey said.

“After peaking at 0.6 percent(of GDP) in 2009-10, Central government expenditure on NREGA declined steadily to 0.3 percent in 2015-16 and 2016-17,” he said.

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India

SC to decide if politicians facing criminal charges can be barred from polls

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Sep 25 : The Supreme Court will on Tuesday pronounce its verdict on whether chargesheeted lawmakers should be disqualified from contesting elections even before their conviction in criminal cases and whether an MP or MLA who is also a lawyer can be allowed to perform the dual role.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is to deliver its verdict on a batch of petitions filed in 2011 by NGO Public Interest Foundation and Delhi BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay among others which demanded debarring politicians facing serious criminal charges in order to de-criminalise Indian politics. It had reserved the verdict on the issue on August 28.

The Bench, which also includes Justice RF Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra.

Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal told the court during the hearing that the judiciary cannot get into law-making, which is reserved for the legislature.He also opposed suggestions that a person who is chargesheeted could be barred from contesting polls as, under the Indian law, there is presumption of innocence unless proven guilty.

Venugopal had told the Bench that Article 102 provided for Parliament to make law on the issue and hence the top court should leave it to the wisdom of the parliamentarians. He had reminded the Bench of the concept of separation of powers.

”Everybody understands that. We cannot direct Parliament to make a law. The question is what we can do to stem the rot,” the Bench had commented.

The court may direct Election Commission to ask every member of a political party to declare if they have any case against them.

“That will not disqualify them from being a member of the party but will help people know how many members of the party have criminal cases against them. When these people want to contest, they will not get symbols,” the court had said.

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India

Fuel prices continue to rise, Petrol at Rs 90.22/litre in Mumbai

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Petrol Price

New Delhi, Sep 25: The fuel prices continued to hit new highs on Tuesday, as petrol is being sold at Rs 90.22 per litre and diesel is retailed at Rs 78.69 per litre in Mumbai. 

While in Delhi, a litre of petrol has touched Rs 82.86 per litre and diesel is priced at Rs 74.12 per litre.

On Monday, the petrol price in Mumbai crossed the Rs 90-run mark.

Yesterday, in Patna petrol was reportedly sold at Rs 91.96/litre , the highest price in the country and diesel at Rs 79.68/litre.

According to the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), a litre of petrol in Bengaluru is being capped at Rs 83.37, in Hyderabad Rs 87.84, in Lucknow Rs 85.25, in Chennai Rs 86.13 and in Kolkata Rs 84.68.

In the meantime, Diesel price has reached Rs 74.40 a litre in Bengaluru, Rs 74.25/litre in Lucknow, Rs 80.62/litre in Hyderabad, Rs 78.36/litre in Chennai and Rs 75.97/litre in Kolkata.

As fuel prices have been witnessing steep hike since the past few weeks, the Opposition party has repeatedly blamed the Narendra Modi government for not taking effective measures to keep a check on fuel price hike.

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Disaster

4.7 magnitude Earthquake hits Assam’s Barpeta

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Earthquake

New Delhi, Sep 25: An earthquake with magnitude 4.7 on the Richter Scale hit Assam’s Barpeta on Tuesday morning.

WeForNews

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