New Delhi: The Centre is finding out the reasons for the delay in payment of MNREGA wages after a Rural Development Ministry data showed that only 28.62 per cent wages have been paid on time under the scheme so far this financial year.
Senior Rural Development Ministry officials, who discussed the issue of delay in payment of MNREGA with state government officials during an internal review meeting last month, said it was decided that "the delay in payment of wages need to be curbed".
"Considering that the fund release during the current year is more than last financial year, the reasons for the mounting delay need a proper investigation," according to a Ministry note prepared after the meeting.
The central government has come under attack from opposition and civil society organisations over the issue of delayed payment to the MNREGA workers who are entitled to a 100 days of work every year.
They have alleged that the governemnt was trying to dilute the scheme enacted during the UPA rule.
Responding to the allegations, officials said the Ministry is of the view that "the processes leading to payment need to be refined and inefficiencies identified and eliminated".
According to the MNREGA Act, payments have to be made to workers within 15 days of completion of work.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has expressed concerned about "constant negative reportage in the media" despite several success stories of the programme.
The Centre has also directed the state governments to "work on projecting the success so as to correct the wrong perception about the programme".
"All states need to work on improving the transparency/ accountability framework which includes strengthening the social audit mechanism as laid down and streamline further the systems to redress public grievances," says the note sent to the state governments.