Only 20 percent wage payments are time bound under NREGA, says a new study
Pratap Vikram Singh | August 4, 2017 | New Delhi
A new research on the implementation of national rural employment guarantee law (NREGA) disputes the way central government measures and offers the delay in compensation to workers. A group of three independent researchers claim that the figures in the NREGA management information system (MIS) have been manipulated to only partially calculate the duration of wage delay.
“Of the 92 lakh transactions studied by the researchers, time bound wage payment happened in only 20 percent of the cases,” said Rajendran Narayanan of the Azim Premji University, addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Friday.
He said that 47 percent of the delay happened due to the incorrect calculation of the wage payment. The researchers claimed that 33 percent delays are not at all captured because of the delay in wage transfer from the central government. A total amount of Rs 689 crore as delay compensation remained uncalculated by the central government. The central government, on the contrary, states that the delay compensation is around Rs 519 crore.
The researchers studied the scheme implementation in 3,446 village panchayats across Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Kerala.
“For the financial year 2016-17, the ministry has already spent 80 percent of the funds in last four months. For the remaining months, it is only left with 20 percent of the fund,” said Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj Abhiyan, citing the new report.
The law mandates payment of wages to workers within 15 days of them completing their allocated work.
According to the research, on an average the delay in crediting wages in the accounts of beneficiaries is 63 days across the ten states. It is interesting to note that while the delay in BJP ruled states vary from 6 to 12 days, it varies from 39 to 89 days in the non-BJP states.
The key concerns, researchers said, around the delay in compensation includes the fraud method of calculation of delayed amount, lack of clarity in accountability of central and state governments and arbitrary power to reject the compensation.
The conference was also addressed by Anuradha Talwar (NREGA Sangharsh Morcha), Dipa Sinha (Right to Food Campaign), Nikhil Dey (People's Action for Employment Guarantee) and Prashant Bhushan (National President, Swaraj Abhiyan).
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