Labourers selling MGNREGA cheques in Jharkhand

Lohardaga (Jharkhand): In the absence of banking services in rural Jharkhand, some labourers had sold their MGNREGA cheques to 'middlemen' for a discount to get the money on the spot, state Chief Secretary Ashok Kumar Singh said on Wednesday.

"Recently I went to Chatra and learnt that a MGNREGA labourer had sold his Rs 100 cheque to get Rs 70," Singh said at a programme in the presence of RBI Governor D Subbarao.

Subbarao, who demonstrated the working of a machine that would be carried by agents to facilitate withdrawal and deposit of money in banks, promised that banking services would reach the customers' doorsteps.

In order to stop middlemen from siphoning off wages earned by labourers under MNREGA, the government had last year had facilitated opening of bank accounts for the beneficiaries. However, banking service in rural Jharkhand is negligible.