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CHANDIGARH, MARCH 26: Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has sought immediate financial assistance from the Centre to clear all the pending liabilities under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.

In a letter to Union Minister of Rural Development and Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar, the Chief Minister raised the issue of pending wage liabilities of MGNREGA workers in Punjab.

Captain Amarinder Singh apprised the Union Minister that as on March 24, 2020, wage liabilities of Rs.84 crore were pending for approximately 1.30 lakh workers in the state.

The Chief Minister pointed out that without the daily wages, the MGNREGA workers would not be able to sustain their families in the prevailing COVID-19 emergency, with no fresh employment opportunities available during the current pan-India lockdown.

Expressing concern over the precarious situation, the Chief Minister urged the Union Minister to immediately release the pending wage liabilities without any further delay, to provide the much-needed relief to the beneficiaries for subsistence of their families.

The release of funds would also help the State handle the present difficult situation to some extent, the Chief Minister further pointed out.

He said that in the current financial year, Punjab had achieved initial approved labour budget of 200 lakh person-days and the Ministry had enhanced labour budget to 234 lakh person-days. As on March 24, 2020, the State has generated 230 lakh person-days, with additional liability of Rs.120 crore pending against payment for materials. He underlined the need for release of sufficient funds to meet all these liabilities at the earliest.

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