Delay in Payment of Wages under MGNREGA Scheme
SC’s letter to the states
In a letter addressed to the States, the Supreme Court (SC) has expressed concern over unpaid Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) wages. The SC said that such payments must be cleared on priority basis. In this connection, the SC highlighted the writ petition (C) No. 857 of 2105 Swaraj Abhiyan versus Union of India and others.
Most states failed to pay MGNREGA workers
In West Bengal the unpaid MGNREGA wages are worth Rs 15,783.38 lakh, pending since July 2016. Other states like Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh too have failed to pay MGNREGA wages to workers.
Unfair practices responsible for delay
Rural economist, Vijay Sardana said that unfair practices have prevented proper implementation of the scheme. Local contractors and officials get together and illegally draw out funds. However these incidents are decreasing ever since the government has brought in stricter measures. Sardana said that although there is a concept of social audit, the manner in which it is to be carried out is just being formulated.
The auditing system is also time consuming, causing delays in MGNREGA payments. After the amount that is payable is approved there is a process of verification of the amount too. Every state is guilty of delaying the verification process. This is caused either due to lack of proper documents or simply a lack of interest. Another reason could be that the state governments do not have proper machinery to speed up this process.