New Delhi: Social activist Aruna Roy has opted out of the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi-led NAC after her term expired on Friday. She has blamed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for blocking minimum wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).
"I do believe that it is extremely unfortunate that the Prime Minister rejected the NAC recommendations on payment of minimum wages to MGNREGA workers and chose instead to appeal the Karnataka High Court judgement ordering payment of minimum wages to MGNREGA workers," she said.
"Even more distressing is the Government's refusal to pay minimum wages even after the Supreme Court refused to stay the Karnataka High Court judgement. It is difficult to understand how a country like India can deny the payment of minimum wages and still makes claims of inclusive growth. However, I realise that this effort to persuade the Government to respect the minimum wages law must now continue outside the NAC," she said.
Roy has written to Sonia requesting that she should not be considered for another term of NAC and the UPA Chairperson has accepted the request. "I am grateful for your accepting my request, while assuring your continued support to campaigns for social sector causes being taken up outside the NAC," Roy has said in a letter to Gandhi. Roy's NAC term comes to an end on May 31.
Highlighting the role of NAC, she said the NAC working group on implementation of flagship programmes took up several issues related to implementation of the MGNREGA. "The recommendations of the working group were sent to the Ministry, which has set up a programme advisory group to oversee implementation of these recommendations and the new guidelines that have been issued by the Rural Development Ministry. Despite its contribution to changing the lives of the rural poor, implementation of this crucial flagship programme remains a challenge," she said.
(With additional information from PTI)