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Govt’s push to link Aadhaar-based payments with MNREGA yet to succeed

Only 44% of 10.2 crore workers received payments under the Centre’s rural job scheme till April 2017

india Updated: May 22, 2017 07:43 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
MNREGA,Aadhaar,Aadhaar-linked payment
The Aadhaar-based payment system promises transparency, faster disbursement, and an easier verification process.(HT File Photo)

Amid the NDA government’s rush to expand the Aadhaar horizon, the unique identity-based payments in rural job scheme is yet to taste success.

Only 44% of 10.2 crore workers in the Centre’s rural job scheme (MNREGA) received payments through the Aadhaar-based system till April 2017, in a stark reminder that the daily wage payment system in the country’s biggest work programme has a large scope of improvement.

The Aadhaar-based system promises transparency, faster disbursement, and an easier verification process.

Ironically, 84% MNREGA workers have Aadhaar cards and the details are available with the rural development ministry.

While 8.58 crore workers have voluntarily given their Aadhaar number to the ministry, only 4.5 crore people are being paid their daily wages through the system.

Government sources claim that the problem is at the level of the banks, which do not have infrastructure to link the Aadhaar numbers in time to the payment system.

“For seeding the unique identity number with the bank accounts, the worker needs to go to the bank again and fill up forms and go through an entire process. In most of the banks, there are just one or two people to do this work of seeding,” said rural development secretary Amarjeet Sinha.

The government also claims that the situation has considerably improved from the UPA-era when only 22.69 lakh workers were covered under the Aadhar-based payment system. “Till December 2014 just 3.1 crore workers had Aadhaar number. Now we have 8.58 crore workers covered,” said Sinha.

The activists, however, maintain that while the government is eager to use Aadhaar for a wide range of areas and making it mandatory for receiving benefits, it has not paid attention to plug these loopholes.

First Published: May 22, 2017 07:43 IST