The COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant economic slowdown has forced an engineer and 15 graduates from Khargone in Madhya Pradesh to work in a Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) project, a scheme originally envisaged for the rural poor, while preparing for civil service exams.
Sachin Yadav (24), a civil engineer from a poor family, says he wants to become a deputy collector but lack of jobs during the lockdown has forced him to work in a MGNREGA project of digging a pond in Gowadi village, 150 kilometres from Indore.
“I passed my civil engineering exams in 2018-19. Before the lockdown, I was staying in Indore and preparing for the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission (MPPSC) exams as I want to become a deputy collector, However, my coaching class shut due to the outbreak and I returned here after being stranded in Indore for a while,” he said on Tuesday (July 7).
“I am preparing for the exams along with working in the village as a labourer, a choice I made as there is no other means of employment. I have worked here for more than a month and get Rs 190 for an 8-hour shift every day,” he added.
Yadav said the experience has taught him that no work is small and being engrossed in it is better than wasting time ruing over the COVID-19 crisis and the difficulties it has brought about.
An official of the Indore unit of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcastings Field Outreach Bureau said 15 graduates are also employed in the MGNREGA project in Gowadi along with Yadav.
“They have degrees in Arts and Science etc. However, they hail from poor backgrounds and are, therefore, working in MGNREGA schemes while preparing for competitive examinations,” the official said.