Updated: Nov 23
Q. Are you a resident of this village? If yes, have you ever migrated from here and for what reason?
MGNREGS Worker: Yes, I am a resident of this village but I migrate often. There is only one purpose for migration, employment. There is no work here, due to which I go to Delhi for some months of the year. There, I am able to get employment and earn a lot of money as well.
Q. Do your children travel with you? If yes, do they attend school at the destination and are there any problems in seeking school admission?
MGNREGS Worker: No, my family does not migrate with me. As I said, I only migrate for a few months of the year like - from December to July. During these months, there is very little work in the village. My family lives in the village and sometimes works for daily wages if work is available.
Q. Have you tried to avail benefits of the Public Distribution System (PDS) at your workplace by using One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme*?
MGNREGS Worker: I do not know about this scheme; what it is, what are its benefits. And secondly, I have never felt the need for all these things in Delhi, so I do not even pay attention to them. The money I get from working sustains me and my family. My family uses the ration card in our village to get subsidised foodgrains.
Q. Have you registered as a MGNREGS worker in your source city or destination site? Have you faced any problems with registering or availing work?
MGNREGS Worker: I am registered as an MGNREGS worker in my village.
Yes, there are a lot of problems with work. The government says that 100 days of employment will be given, but nowhere can one avail this. Finding 30-40 days of work is a big feat itself. And it is not as if projects are not under way, but instead of labourers, the work is done by machines. Not only is it difficult to find work under the scheme, getting the wages for the work done is no easy task as well; sometimes it takes two months.
Q. Since you are registered under the MGNREGS, are you receiving your wages on time?
MGNREGS Worker: I have never received the wages within one week of the work.
Q. Were you provided with unemployment allowance if you did not get work after registering for MGNREGS?
MGNREGS Worker: We don’t even get our wages properly and you are talking about allowances? It would be enough if we can receive our full wages timely.
Q. Did you receive any benefits from the government when you migrated?
MGNREGS Worker: No, I did not receive any such benefits.
Image Source: The Hindu
This interview was conducted with a MGNREGS Worker in Bihar in Hindi on 4 October 2022, and has been translated.
* The ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ (ONORC) scheme was launched in August 2019, to allow for nationwide portability of National Food Security Act benefits. The scheme provides flexibility to migrant beneficiaries to lift their foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice in most parts of the country, by using their existing ration card with biometric authentication of identity on an e-PoS device.