BY: Nazia Nabi
Misra, a 30 year old from Palhalan is a strong and confident lady whose main occupation is to look after house hold chores. Her family comprises four members. She talks about her family struggle in accessing NREGA. Her husband had applied for the job card under NREGA. Her husband worked at the work site as per as stipulated time but after completing the work, the wages for work were delayed by the providers.
“Each time he approached the service providers they would make several excuses in paying the wages, so he had a literal struggle to get his wage released from the concerned authorities”, she said.
Later on, her husband re-applied for the work when some construction was to take place in the village. He was denied employment under the act by simply giving the excuse that the authority is short of issuing the job cards.
She also talks about dem-otivating factors that had kept her away from working under this act.
“If my husband had to struggle for the wages, women can be easily cheated under this act. So when it comes to payment and her voice can be easily silenced by the service providers. In such a case I don’t want to struggle for the wages which is being delayed by the providers and being a women it is also not feasible for me every time to fight for the unpaid wages”, she elaborated. She further adds, “I do not even plan or think now to work under NREGA because of my past experiences”.
Misra being aware of the fact that under NREGA Act which specifies work locally, within 5 kms of the residence. Women workforce it is not socially accepted for NREGA as social stigma is attached to the work under NREGA. Furthermore, women continue to bear the main responsibility of household, working alongside men on the roadside is considered insignificant. Thus, the participation of women in NREGA related work is an uphill task.
“I have children at home, and they are too young to be left alone at home even if for a moment I think for working outside home there is no child care facility at the worksite. My children would go unsupervised this is the other reason that has kept me away for applying for employment under NREGA”, said Misra.
“I know employment under the NREGA Act is our right but due to conservative environment of the community and less faith of service providers on the capability of women to do the justice to the physical tasks has limited many women in a village to reap the benefit of the NREGA Act.”
Misra also talks about her dream as: “I want to see other women of my village participating in NREGA. Jobs should be given to the real deserving ones, who can later draw benefits out of this act”. But this never happens and women have to fight back for their rights. She has a long distance to go along her dream. We have cross miles to reach to a point where I can be shoulder to shoulder to a man”, said Misra dreamingly.