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Protest for full-fledged guarantee

Special Correspondent

Assured payment of the statutory minimum wages sought

NEW DELHI: Even as the Government moved the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) Bill, 2004 in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, activists of the People's Action for Employment Guarantee began an indefinite dharna at Jantar Mantar to reaffirm their demand for a full-fledged Employment Guarantee Act (EGA).

This followed the Rozgar Adhikar Yatra, which travelled for 50 days through 10 states in May and June 2005.

Lift restriction

Seeking universal and irreversible application of the Guarantee, People's Action also wanted lifting of the restriction on the number of workdays and assured payment of the statutory minimum wages.

Besides demanding time-bound extension to the whole of India, the People's Action wants equal opportunities and wages for women and men.

"The amended version of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Bill tabled in Parliament on Thursday, meets many of the demands. To this extent, we welcome it as a major achievement of people's movements," the activists said.

Appeal to parties

"We appeal to all political parties and Members of Parliament to ensure that a full-fledged Employment Guarantee Act is passed during the monsoon session of Parliament. This is a historic opportunity that should not be missed. We also reiterate our long-standing demand for the immediate adoption of a similar Employment Guarantee Act for urban areas," a statement issued by the People's Action said.

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