MGNREGA payments Delays 

MGNREGA payments Delays 

CONTEXT : 

The Study shows –

  •  71% MGNREGA wages were not paid on time 

  • 14% delayed beyond 30 days

8 crore MGNREGA wage transactions were pending on Diwali.

→  Over the past two months, Payments have not been made under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), leaving lakhs of workers in distress. 

There are also delays in the stage where the Central government transfers wages to the workers’ accounts

Payment Delays :

A/c, the People’s Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG) 

 metrics on MGNREGA implementation→ the funds allocated for this financial year (FY) is 34% lower than the revised budget allocation of last year and this year’s funds have been exhausted. 

The Rural Development Ministry has issued a press release stating that, Currently Rs.8921 crore funds are available to meet the wage liability.

 In opposition to the Ministry’s statement, the Ministry has not accounted for pending arrears of ₹17,543 crore from previous years.

According to, the Ministry of Finance, this has been due to-

 Insufficient funds.

Generally, in the wage payment process, there are 2 stages :-

 Stage 1 → States electronically send invoices (FTOs) to the Central government within 8 days of work  completion at worksite; having essential worker details (their names, bank account numbers)

Stage 2 → Then the Central government processes the invoices and transfers wages directly to the workers’ accounts. 

Stage 2 is the responsibility of Central government which should be completed within 7 days after Stage 1.

 Since Supreme Court orders in 2018, the delays in Stage 1 have reduced while they still continue in Stage 2. 

As per the Act, 

If Stage 1 + Stage 2 =15 days, then workers are entitled to a delay compensation for each day’s delay.

 The Central government has repeatedly adjusted the payment architecture and tried to show that payment delays are an artefact of technological hurdles. 

Caste-based segregation:

On March 2, the Central government issued a circular to segregate invoices based on the caste of workers (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and ‘Others’).

Earlier, the invoices were not segregated by caste. 

The negative impact of caste-based segregation has been found from :

  • Madhya Pradesh

  • Jharkhand

  • Odisha 

  •  West Bengal 

As per the Reports :

  • Stage 2 was completed in 7 days for only half the transactions for SC/ST workers in Madhya Pradesh.

  •  For non-SC/ST workers in Madhya Pradesh, only 7% of transactions were completed.

  • In West Bengal, the Central government kept pending approx 45% of the wages beyond 15 days as on October 13.

caste-based seperation has also resulted in:

  •  Tensions at worksites

  •  Threefold increase of workload for computer operators at blocks

STAND OF CENTRAL GOVERNMENT: 

In consultation with the Department of Expenditure, GOVT. has decided to have a category-wise wage payment system (SC, ST and others) →  For better accounting purposes.

However, the Central government has NO accountability to pay the compensation for delays inspite of the damages caused by caste-based segregation of payments.

Problems directed by APBS (Aadhar Payment Bridge System), due to inaccurate Aadhaar mapping with the payment software:- 

  • Misdirected payments 

  • payment failures

These are not even enough to provide an impartial, independent assessment and audit of the payment systems.

→ It should be kept in mind that Technical fixes cannot be substitutes for political will. 

  • Currently around ₹50,000 crore needs to be allocated immediately.

  •  The Central government,alongwith the Supreme Court orders, must calculate and pay the workers their compensation delays.

Download CURRENT AFFAIRS 9th November 2021