Attempt to deepen the implementation of the job scheme
Bankers and officials of the Karur District Rural Development Agency are readying a plan to disburse wages to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme beneficiaries in Karur district through bank accounts from January next.
Already around 60 of the 157 village panchayats are covered under the ambitious plan.
While there have been complaints from beneficiaries of mishandling of wages and about other malpractice in the initial stages of MGNREGS implementation at several places, the Centre wants it to be a transparent process.
One way to achieve that was disbursing wages to beneficiary workers through bank accounts that could reduce pilferage.
Of course, farmers are anguished that the scheme, perceived to be encouraging laziness and lackadaisical attitude among the people, had been weaning away agricultural labourers. But the Centre and the State government seemed to be bent on deepening their influence on the MGNREGS implementation on a larger scale.
Paying wages through banks is an attempt at this. For this, biometric cards had been issued to the beneficiaries.
During peak season in Karur district, nearly 40,000 workers were on the MGNREGS rolls.
With the onset of monsoon, although partially over the district in the past few days, agricultural activity picked up in parts of Karur district drawing some sections of the MGNREGS workers.
Around 15,000 people have been deployed under the MGNREGS.
Over 5,000 people had been issued biometric cards in the district so far.
About 5,000 beneficiaries who have been issued biometric cards are encouraged to use them to transact banking business at their doorsteps utilising the services of the banks’ business correspondents.
Banks say 4,000 people are using the biometric cards given to them.
Twelve banks have granted biometric cards to MGNREGS beneficiaries in the district and are enrolling beneficiaries for disbursal of wages through banks.
Lead bank and the DRDA are planning to issue ATM-enabled debit cards to moderately literate workers so that they can do transactions without the need for business correspondents.
“We are trying to sensitise local elected body representatives to the benefits of the scheme from the workers’ angle and improve savings habit among them.
“The Government of India is interested in the expeditious completion of the process of wage disbursal through banks,” says Lead District Manager S.M. Murugesan.