Govt in parliament: Rs 7257 Cr payment pending under MGNREGA, no data on pending wages

At a time when the country is reeling under record-breaking unemployment, the rural employment scheme, MGNREGA launched by the UPA government is not getting adequate funds

IANS Photo (Representative Photo)
IANS Photo (Representative Photo)

NH Political Bureau

At a time when the country is reeling under record-breaking unemployment (as per the CMIE data 42 % Indians aged 20-24 years are jobless) Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) launched by the Congress led UPA government is not getting adequate funds.

Launched in 2005, MGNREGA – known as a job guarantee scheme – was hailed by economists world over as a vehicle to curb/eliminate rural poverty.

However, as per the present government’s own admission, Rs 7257 crores payment is pending under MGNREGA to various states with West Bengal being at top.

In response to a question asked by CPIM leader and Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam, MoS Rural Development, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti told parliament that the government has to release Rs 2620 crores to West Bengal under the scheme.

Fund for BJP ruled Haryana under the scheme is minimum – only 8.05 crores, told Niranjan Jyoti.

The Minister also stated that there is a pending of wage materials worth 2537 crores.

On the question related to the number of workers and supervisors under the scheme with pending wages for more than three months, the government said that it does not have any data.

Reacting to it, Viswam while talking to NH said that “the pendency under MGNREGA has caused significant hardship on the people amidst the ongoing inflation.

“Further, the large pendency to states is a direct threat to their fiscal security and must be released immediately,” added Viswam.

Niranjan Jyoti further stated that technology to mark attendance at MGNREGA worksite through a Mobile App is only available in three regional languages Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam along with Hindi and English.

In reply to the question why attendance cannot be marked in a register, the minister claimed that digital attendance encourages “transparency.”

Slamming the government for “highly exclusionary practice” the CPI MP raised the issue of “the low levels of digital literacy”.

“This is another example of the Government using technology that is not regulated by any legislation and raises serious concerns towards the security of the data generated,” asserted Viswam.

It is worth recalling here that speaking in parliament back in 2015, Modi had termed the employment guarantee scheme as “living monument of UPA’s failure.”

“My political instincts tell me that MNREGA should not be discontinued, because it is a living memorial to your failures. After so many years in power, all you were able to deliver is for a poor man to dig ditches a few days a month,” Modi had said mockingly.

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