Bihar to pay MGNREGA wages through banks



Patna: The Bihar government has decided to pay wages to workers under the rural jobs scheme through public sector banks instead of post offices to check delays and irregularities, an official said Wednesday.

"We have directed all district magistrates to make wage payments only through public sector banks to workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)," Rural Development Secretary Amrit Lal Meena told a news agency.

Meena said officials had been asked to open bank accounts for all job card holders.

"This new system will be effective in toto from Feb 1, 2013," he said.

Rural Development Minister Nitish Mishra has said the new system of wage payment through banks was an effort to make the process more transparent and check corruption.

Last week, Delhi-based Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) said a performance audit of MGNREGA in Bihar found that 73 percent of the Rs.8,189 crore scheme funds, spent in the state's 38 districts in six years (2006-12), were embezzled by the implementing authorities.

The jobs scheme aims at enhancing the livelihood security of villagers by guaranteeing 100 days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

IANS