Non-payment of due MGNREGA wages recurred in 2016-17
The focus on MGNREGA got renewed when the Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley during the presentation of Union Budget 2017-18 increased allocation under the programme to Rs. 48,000 crore (B.E.), up from Rs. 47,499 crore (R.E.) in 2016-17. However, it has been noticed by the Inclusive Media for Change team that nearly Rs. 9,748.7 crore of due payment during the last financial year is still pending, as on 2 April, 2017.
From the MIS reports section of the official MGNREGA website i.e. www.nrega.nic.in, it has been found that as on 2 April, 2017, 49.4 percent of the pending payments are related to wages of unskilled labourers, 48.6 percent related to material suppliers and the remaining 2 percent related to administrative expenses. Please click here to access.
As on 2 April, 2017, the highest pending amount has been observed for the state of West Bengal (Rs. 1,828 crore) in 2016-17.
An email communication from civil society activist Ankita Aggarwal reveals that there are various reasons behind pending payments in 2016-17, which include: a. failure to complete the tasks required for making payments, for example generation of wage-lists and Fund Transfer Orders (FTOs); b. rejection of FTOs due to technical errors such as wrong entry of workers’ or vendors’ account details in MGNREGA’s Management Information System (MIS); and (3) FTOs not getting processed by the Public Finance Management System (PFMS), which is an online application of the central government through which several social security payments are now routed.
It needs to be mentioned that under the Electronic Fund Management System, funds are electronically transferred to accounts of workers and vendors after Fund Transfer Orders (FTOs) are signed digitally by gram panchayat presidents and secretaries/ accountants.
Despite the provision of compensation at the rate of 0.05 percent of the pending wages per day of the delay, merely 2.5 percent of the Rs. 411.72 crores of compensation due for delayed payments in 2016-17 (as on 16 April, 2017) was actually paid to MGNREGA workers, said right to work activist Aggarwal in her email to Inclusive Media for Change. Please click here to access.
Union Budget 2017-18: Demand no. 82, Ministry of Rural Development, please click here to access
Financial Statement of 2016-2017, as on 2 April 2017 (in lakhs), please click here to access, Source: www.nrega.nic.in
Jharkhand NREGA workers unpaid due to govt. mismanagement & apathy, News alert from Inclusive Media for Change, dated 24 August, 2016, please click here to access
Additional days of work available under MGNREGS not taken up in drought hit states, News alert from Inclusive Media for Change, dated 30 June, 2016, please click here to access
How tech is undoing NREGA in Jharkhand, The Times of India, 16 February, 2017, please click here to access
Direct Benefit Transfer System for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Ministry of Rural Development, please click here to access
Image Courtesy: MKSS