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Around ₹33 crores of wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) are pending in Telangana in the financial year 2020-21 due to technical glitches, an analysis by LibTech India has revealed.
LibTech is a team of engineers, social workers, and social scientists dedicated to improving India's public service delivery.
The team assessed the data available on the MGNREGA as of January 3 and found that nearly 6.31 lakh people were added to the workforce, accounting to three lakh new job cards, as one job card is issued per family once they register for the scheme. The job cards have the details of the work requirement, wages paid etc.
According to the scheme, the workers must be paid within 15 days of the completion of work, however, the payments were often not deposited into the workers' account due to technical glitches.
"In Telangana, these technical reasons are categorised as 'Rejected' or 'Suspended'. Rejected payments are those that are initiated from the Centre, but are rejected due to technical errors like data entry — like a bounced check. Suspended Payments occur when there are no Aadhaar or bank account details mapped to the worker's job card. A worker's subsequent wage payments will also continue to get rejected/suspended if the error is not identified and resolved. They will not receive any wages under MGNREGA," the report read.
This year's Rejected payment amount to ₹30 crores (3 lakh transactions) and Suspended payments up to ₹3 crores (30,000 workers). Among all the districts, Nalgonda has the highest amount of Rejected and Suspended wages. The district was the second-highest in providing job cards and employment.
The well-performing district was Kamareddy, generating the most employment, while Medchal was last with least employment.
Team's program officer B Chakradhar told The News Minute that the problem lies with the banks. "Although the bank accounts are linked with Aadhaar, they are not linked to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for receiving Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). Chakradhar said that this may be a branch problem or a bank problem and hence the wages get rejected.
"If a person has not been part of MGNREGA work for a couple of years but is mentioned in the job card, often their Aadhaar and bank details will not be collected by the Field Assistants. However, this year, many showed up for work, and some considerations were made to allow them to work, but most haven't received their wages yet," he added.
A higher number of men have availed jobs under the scheme this year than women. The percentage of employment generated by women dropped from 61.50 per cent in FY 2019-20 to 58.16 per cent for the current year. Chakradhar said this shows that fewer women are taking part.
The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities participation were higher than the national average. SC saw an increase of more than 70 lakhs, and an increase of 12.95 per cent, whereas, the share of ST employment, in particular, saw an increase of nearly 13 per cent this year.
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