Rural Jobs Scheme Funds Of West Bengal Stopped Due To Non-Compliance: Centre

The ministry said MGNREGA is a demand-driven wage employment programme.

New Delhi:

The Union Rural Development Ministry on Thursday said there was no constraint of funds for the rural job scheme MGNREGA and reiterated that funds for West Bengal were not released due to non-compliance of central directives.

In a statement, the ministry said, “Funds of State of West Bengal have been stopped from March 9, 2022 as per provision of Section 27 of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 due to non-compliance of directives of Central Government.” 

The statement came on a day West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress conducted a march to the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata to protest against the Centre over MGNREGA dues.

The TMC had also staged protests in Delhi on October 3 and 4 demanding the release of funds by the Centre.

In its statement, the ministry said that by October 4, Rs 56,105.69 crore out of the Rs 60,000 crore budget for the scheme had been released.

“Availability of funds is not a constraint for the implementation of the programme,” it said.

The ministry said MGNREGA is a demand-driven wage employment programme and fund release to states and Union territories is a continuous process and the central government is making funds available keeping in view the demand for work.

The ministry seeks additional funds for the scheme as and when required to meet the demand for work on the ground, it stated.

“The ministry has been making all efforts to pay wages in time. States/UTs have been advised to generate pay orders in time,” the statement stated, adding that it has resulted in considerable improvement in the status of timely generation of pay order and leading to improvement in actual time taken to credit wages in the workers account.  

The ministry said that in the current financial year till October 4, 99.12 per cent pay orders have been generated within 15 days.  They also blamed states for delayed payments.

“The delay in payment of wages are due to implementation issues in the states which include inadequate staffing, measurement, data entry, generation of wage list, Fund Transfer Order (FTO), etc. In case of delay in wage payment, the beneficiary is entitled for delay compensation as per the provisions,” it said.

The ministry also said the job card of a household can be deleted only in certain specific conditions, but not due to Aadhaar Payment Bridge System (APBS).

“Updation/deletion of job cards is a regular exercise conducted by the States/UTs. A job card can be deleted in case it is a fake job card (incorrect job card)/ duplicate job card/ household not willing to work/ family shifted from gram panchayat permanently/ single person in job card and that person is expired,” it said.

The ministry said APBS is nothing but a route through which the payment is getting credited in the account of beneficiaries.

“There are well-defined steps adopted in this system and role of beneficiaries, field functionaries and all other stakeholders is clearly defined.” The ministry added that APBS is the “best route for making wage payment through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). It will help the beneficiaries in getting their wage payment on time.” 

They added that National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) data shows that there is higher success percentage to the extent of 99.55 per cent or above where the Aadhaar is enabled for DBT. 

“In case of account-based payment such success is about 98 per cent,” the ministry said.

However, the mixed route of wage payment – NACH and ABPS – has been extended till December 31 or till further orders.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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