All states, but one, have failed to pay the mandatory unemployment allowance to workers registered under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) this fiscal.
Madhya Pradesh is the only exception. But it, too, has parted with only Rs 637 for a few workers in Shajapur district. The state still has to pay allowance for 15, 263 man-days when it could not provide employment to workers registered with it.
Under the scheme, a rural household is given 100 days of employment in one financial year. If a job seeker doesn’t get employed within 15 days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought, a daily allowance has to be paid by the state government.
“The dated receipt is the basic record for claiming unemployment allowance…” a rural development ministry official, who didn’t wish to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said.
It is left to state governments that also foot the bill to decide, within certain parameters, the allowance amount.
“The payment of allowance is basically an administrative lapse,” the official said.
As many as 35.3 million (3.53 crore) households have been provided jobs this fiscal so far under the worlds’ largest social security scheme — in terms of people covered and money spent.
Nagaland tops the list of defaulters. It has to pay for 628,975 man-days, followed by Karnataka with 313,348 days.
The states unwillingness to pay has led to protests in many parts of the country: Barwani district in Madhya Pradesh, Raichur district in Karnataka, Bolangir, Navrangpur and Kalahandi districts in Orissa and Sitapur district in Uttar Pradesh, among others.
But three states — Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Goa —have no dues to pay, as they were able to provide work to all who sought it. Most union territories, too, are similarly placed.