Industry sees labour crisis in MGNREGA allocation


The allocation of Rs 38,500 crore under the scheme related to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the Union Budget for 2016-17, has left industrialists worried. The local industry, which is already facing recessionary trends, is bound to face a labour crisis in the times to come with a huge amount allocated to the MGNREGA scheme.A leading industrialist of the city, Avtar Singh Bhogal, from Bhogal Group, who has been in the business for the past several decades, said industries, be it of garments, auto, bicycle, electroplating or any other, which was dependent on skilled or unskilled labour, was definitely going to face tough times.“The Finance Minister has provided huge funds under the MGNREGA, which will definitely stop the arrival of migrants (labourers) from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand to Punjab. When the migrants will get work back at their native places, why will they come here? The local industry is already reeling under recessionary trends and the shortage of labour will create more troubles for it,” said Bhogal.Expressing similar concern, the president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking (CICU), Avtar Singh, said even if labourers come to Punjab, they will dictate their own terms. “The industry is already facing a labour crisis and during the festival and wedding seasons, production in factories witnesses a decline by 30-40 per cent due to unavailability of labour. If they will get assured wages at their native places, they will not come to Punjab, and we will suffer,” said Avtar Singh.“The labour is aware these days. Back home, they do not have to spend on rent. Besides, they will save on expenses on meals and transportation, etc. Back home, there will be more savings, so they will prefer to be with their families. With the fresh boost to the MGNREGA scheme, there will be assured wages for labour in their native villages, which is a cause of concern for the local industry,” said Rajinder Kumar, a hosiery manufacturer from Sunder Nagar.