Alarmed by detection of around 20 lakh "duplicate" job cards in the MGNREGA scheme, the Bihar government said on Wednesday that it has launched a special drive to verify cards issued to 1.27 crore beneficiaries to recover "ghost payments" made.
"During uploading of data on management information system it came to light that nearly 20 lakh job cards have been issued with different numbers and names but same name of head of the family," rural development minister Nitish Mishra told the state assembly in reply to a short notice question of BJP MLA Sanjay Saragwi.
The minister said a large number of "duplicate" job cards have been detected in Muzaffarpur (97,197), Samastipur (87,934), Patna (72,058), Purnea (60,631) and Gaya (51,147).
The minister said that it has come to light that out of 1.27 crore job cards issued, nearly 40 to 45 lakh were not operational. "In view of this discrepancy, a comprehensive verification process of job cards is under process," Mishra said.
He said the verification exercise would be completed by May end this year.
The rural development minister said verification of cards included perusing through statement of job details of payment made by post offices to beneficiaries.
He said from June this year, payment against MGNREGA work would be made through bank account.
Mishra also said a sum of Rs 70 lakh "ghost payment" has been recovered.