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Laborers Receive Overdue Wages from Government


    West Bengal

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After an 18-month wait, 250 laborers in Khagrabari, West Bengal, received overdue MGNREGA wages, thanks to Bikash Barman's advocacy. Documenting their plight led to administrative action, resolving systemic payment delays and highlighting the power of collective action and media in ensuring labor rights

Report illustration

The advocacy led by Bikash Barman, a Community Correspondent for Video Volunteers, culminated in the release of $7,500 in long-overdue wages to 250 laborers in Khagrabari panchayat, West Bengal. This effort not only provided financial relief to the workers, many of whom had gone into debt to cover their living costs, but also reinforced the power of media and community engagement in ensuring government accountability under the governments flagship rural employment scheme.


  • Attributing 70% of the impact to the role played by Video Volunteers 
  • Increased government accountability and awareness of their rights worth $10 per affected individual


  1. Direct Financial Compensation: 250 laborers each receiving overdue wages worth $30 = $7,500
  2. Increasing Government Accountability : Enhanced community understanding of their rights and the mechanisms for redressal worth $10 per affected individual, $250*10 = $2500

Counterfactual Analysis

As the wages had not been released in 1.5 years, we attribute a high role of 70% to the Video Volunteers correspondent in achieving this impact. The total benefit is 70% of $10,000 = $7000

Cost of Story is $850 , obtained by dividing the annual budget for video volunteers in 2016 ($320,788) with the total number of impact reports they produced in that year (377). 

Benefit Cost Ratio is $7000 divided by $850 = 8.23


The benefit cost ratio of 8.23 underscores the significant return on investment in terms of financial relief and empowerment for 250 MGNREGA workers of Khagrabari panchayat, who were supposed to have been paid $30 each but had not received the wages even after 1.5 years. Bikash Barman's campaign helping the workers receive their wages marked a significant step towards ensuring fair labor practices and government accountability.