A parliamentary panel has recommended enhancement of ex-gratia payment from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 100,000 to the legal heirs of a person who dies or becomes permanently disabled while working under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).
In its report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the implementation of NREGA, headed by senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, said the compensation paid to the disabled or the next of the kin of the deceased under the scheme was paltry.
According to NREGA, in case of death or permanent disability of a registered labourer due to accident at the work site, an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 25,000 or such amount as may be notified by the Union government should be paid to the legal heir of the deceased or to the disabled as the case may be by the implementing agency.
The committee recommended that this amount be enhanced to Rs. 100,000 by suitably amending the Act of 2005.
The panel also pulled up the rural development ministry for poor implementation of the scheme, saying it should not be just content with mere issuing instructions to states but ensure that steps are taken to persuade as many rural households as possible to register under NREGA.
It noted several “deficiencies” in the figures available with the ministry relating to the registration of households and employment provided to them in the initial phase of the scheme.
“These cannot be said to be very reliable or verifiable given the poor record maintenance, particularly at the gram panchayat level, besides high probability of only partial capturing of the demand for work,” the committee said.