ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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MAHARASHTRA-Foot-Dragging on Minimum Farm Wages

Foot-Dragging on Minimum Farm Wages Amrita Abraham ORGANISATIONS representing small farmers, agricultural workers and workers on the Employment Guarantee Scheme, from several parts of Maharashtra, held a five-day dharna in Bombay last month to protest against the recommendations of the Third Page Committee on minimum agricultural wages. Two pieces of information, which are relevant to the discussion on agricultural wages, emerged in the same week. The government admitted belatedly that the drought in various parts of the state was as bad as, and perhaps even worse than, the last severe drought in the state in 1972. Thirty per cent of the kharif crop has been affected by late and sporadic rains or long dry spells in some districts. The second piece of relevant information emerged from the investigations of the R S Gavai Committee into charges of corruption in the EGS in Dhule district, first brought to light by the then district collector, A run Bhatia. Gavai's findings confirmed that corrupt officials on the scheme had paid short wages to EGS workers and paid wages in factitious names, that suspect officials in charge of the programme received protection from unnamed but nigh level authorities and that after the disclosures were made local police authorities were more concerned with preventing further disclosures than with investigating the charges.

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