Best Practices on Financial Inclusion in NREGA
Source: Chapter 1: NREG Scheme, page 10, Annual Report 2007-08, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India
Gulbarga District – Karnataka
The district has a population of 31.30 lakhs. There are 337 gram panchayts and 1363 villages. The total number of households is 3.89 lakhs out of which 2.15 lakhs households have been issued Job Cards under NREGA. 3000 works have been taken up during the current year (2007-08) as against 3259 works taken up last year (2006-07). In total, Rs. 19.05 crores have been spent under NREGA during the current financial year as against Rs. 34.02 crores spent last year. Till now, 62,313 accounts in post offices, 157,687 in commercial banks and 17,946 accounts in Co-operative banks have been opened. Almost 90 villages have banks and 752 villages have banks within 5 Km (51.17%), whereas 345 villages have banks within 5-19 Km (25.97%).
East Godawari District-Andhra Pradesh
The State Department of Rural Development and Department of Posts, A.P. Circle have entered into MoU for payment of wages through Post Office Saving Account. 4,17,154 postal saving accounts have been opened against 3.5 lakh persons reporting for NREGS works. Fortnightly, co-ordination meetings are conducted between district administration and representative of department of posts at district level and block level. The Programme Officers generate wage payment orders and issue cheques and hand them over to sub post masters every Monday. They also facilitate the sub post masters and branch post masters in receiving the cash. Every Friday the wage seekers withdraw amount from their postal accounts. Since inception, 77.2% of payments are being made within 15 days of closer of Muster Rolls.
Dumka District - Jharkhand
In Dumka District, payment of wages is made through Banks. On the basis of corrected Muster Rolls, cheques are transferred to respective banks. Outstation cheques take about 15 days for clearance. For smooth payment, accounts have been opened by the all the agencies in almost all the bank branches so that labourers get payments on the same day without any delay. District administration has also developed a system to ensure smooth payment through Post Office. Muster Rolls are collected and advice prepared accordingly. Fund assessment is made from particular day from each post office and the same amount is deposited in cash in the respective branch post office. A specific day is fixed for group of labourers for a particular group of schemes for wages payment through post office. Prior information is given to the labourers about the time and date of payment for a particular post office. On that particular day wages payment is ensured in the presence of respective Panchayat Sewak/ Rojgar Sewak/ Junior Engineer/ Supervisor, etc.
Success story on NREGA
According to The Challenge of Employment in India: An Informal Economy Perspective, Volume-I, Main Report, National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS), April, 2009, http://nceus.gov.in/
The performance of the scheme in the state of Andhra Pradesh has been laudable because of strong political will and also because the state has had a rural worker and community mobilization movement. In addition, Andhra Pradesh has successfully employed computerization and e-governance mechanisms for monitoring the scheme. For, example, funds are being transferred electronically; every jobs seeker has got a bank account and wages are paid through bank or post office account; the whole process from job application to registration is computerized.
In Rajasthan, which has the history of drought relief based public employment and active civil society, the success of NREGA is more impressive compared to other north Indian states. Dungarpur district was able to make NREGA more of a success because of the presence of effective grassroots NGOs and their ability to mobilize the poor. Further, in Rajasthan, the innovative arrangement of having a ‘mate’ supporting worksite management has led to greater productivity of workers, easier worksite supervision and greater transparency in maintaining of work related records. Facilitation of the scheme by the local civil society organisation, the Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) in Pati block of Madhya Pradesh bears testimony to public action from below to inculcate the practice of work on demand through application, receipts at the time of submission of applications and ensuring the payment of unemployment allowance, if necessary.
In Kerala, the NREG implementation pivots around the Kutumbashree (Self Help Groups of poor women). These women are not only involved in identifying the public work projects, but also overseeing the implementation. Besides Kerala has also used banks and post offices for wage payment. All these have resulted in high participation rate of women and an overall efficient system. Manifold increase in the number of work days, reduction in distress out-migration, enrolment in schools were observed in a study of 8 states by Indian School of Women’s Studies and Development, New Delhi.
In the tribal dominated and backward district of Pakur in Jharkhand, customized information, education and communication (IEC) activities had a large role to play in awareness generation about the NREGA (IHD 2009). Social audit conducted as a part of “NREGA Watch” of National Institute of Rural Development revealed absence of contractors and machines, kutcha muster rolls, presence of first aid facilities at stone quarries and mines, payment of wages through bank accounts (119,000 labour families had opened accounts in Banks/ Post Offices after NREGA), convergence with health and aaganwadi schemes, better quality of governance and better attendance at gram sabhas (270 out of 284 individuals attended the Gram-Sabha in 2008)