NREGA payment delay: Govt tells states to take remedial steps

NREGA payment delay: Govt tells states to take remedial steps

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