NREGA payment delay: States asked to take remedial steps

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 18:05

New Delhi: Taking note of reports about
"inordinate" delay in payment of wages to NREGA workers, the
Centre has asked the state governments to look into the matter
and take "immediate" remedial steps to stop the violation of
the provisions of the Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

In a latest advisory to the states, Rural Development
Ministry also sought suggestions from them for streamlining
the administrative procedures being followed to make payment
of wages to beneficiaries of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA, "so that
the objective of the Act to enhance the livelihood security of
rural households is not defeated by delay in wage payments."

"States are urged to review the reasons for
administrative delays in wage payments and take immediate
steps for remedying them," the Ministry said.

This will also help in identifying "such factors"
affecting timely wage payments which "may be related to banks
and post offices" and in coordinating such issues at
government of India level, it said.

The Ministry informed the states that action taken in
this regard will be reviewed in the forthcoming meeting of
performance review committee (PRC), which is likely to be held
sometime this month.

"The reports from media, Central Employment Guarantee
Council members, area officers and National Level Monitors
have revealed that there is inordinate delay in payment of
wages to the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA workers resulting into undue
hardships to them and violation of the provisions of the Act
as well," the Ministry noted in its advisory.

It reminded the states of their responsibility to ensure
proper implementation of the Act.

"Under Section 4 (of the NREG Act), states are to make
arrangements for the proper implementation of the schemes. It
is expected that the states have established administrative
modalities for ensuring fortnightly wage payments," it said.

The operational guidelines, 2008 provides that in order
to avoid delays in clearances of cheques or shortage of staff
in bank or post office branches or reluctance of bankers or
postal authorities, state government may discuss the matter in
the state level banking coordination committee meetings and
Post Master General of the state, it added.

"A well laid procedure has also been provided for payment
to the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA workers......No third party should
be allowed to withdraw money from the bank or post office
without due authorisation of the worker in writing," it noted.

Sub Section 3 of Section 3 of the NREGA provides that the
disbursement of daily wages shall be made on a weekly basis or
in any case not later than a fortnight after the date on which
such work was done, the Ministry said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 18:05

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