Cash wages for MGNREGS workers

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday said the government has no other option to effectively address the problem of delayed wage payment to the MGNREGS workers, but to allow cash payment in certain remote areas as well as the ones affected by Maoist insurgency.

Though the MGNREGS workers in Tamil Nadu have been receiving payments in cash, the MoRD discouraged the practice elsewhere in the country because it could raise chances of wages being given to fictitious people.

Ramesh said the MoRD would insist on video-recording of wage disbursal to make it sure that the payments were distributed to the people who had really worked under the MGNREGS.

The minister announced this  decision at a workshop on “Empowering Lives through MGNREGA: Strengthening the Reform Agenda”, organised jointly by the ministry and the United Nations Development Programme.

Under the provisions of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, workers are to be paid wages no later than 15 days after the completion of a project.
But Ramesh said wages were being paid as late as four months or seven months after the completion of the project.

The MoRD had been working on a plan to adopt the Banking Correspondent model for the payment of wages to the MGNREGS worker to avoid delay.

But the minister said the Banking Correspondent model would not work in areas without adequate banking facilities or post office networks.

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