Deadline to enroll for Aadhaar-based MGNREGS payment ends today, no extension from Centre yet
Activist groups have expressed concerns that the new rule will exclude several workers from the rural employment scheme.
The Union government is yet to announce an extension to enroll for the Aadhaar-based payment system for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, or MGNREGS, even as the deadline ends on Friday.
The social security scheme introduced in 2005 guarantees 100 days of unskilled work annually for every rural household. On February 1, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government had made it mandatory for all payments under the scheme to be made through an Aadhaar-based payment system. Earlier, the workers had the option to choose for an bank account-based payment.
The change led to protests from MGNREGS workers, activists and politicians, who have argued that the new method would not work as only 43% of the workers are eligible for the Aadhaar-based payment system.
MGNREGS workers deprived of wages due to Aadhaar-based payment system, says Jean Drèze
Meanwhile, the NREGA Sangarsh Morcha, a workers’ collective focused on the social security scheme, on Thursday urged the government to review the final deadline of the payment system. The group expressed concerns that the entire programme will collapse due to new rule.
In a statement, the group said that the Ministry of Rural Development’s assumption that MGNREGS workers would have enough time to meet the requirements of the payment system’s eligibility was wrong.
“The reason is that for many MGNREGS workers, satisfying these requirements is very cumbersome,” it said. “...The ABPS [Aadhaar-based payment system] is a complex, cumbersome and unreliable system that has caused severe problems in the last few years. There is no case for making it compulsory.”
The group also said that the ministry has not been able to explain why the accounts-based payment system has been discontinued.