Programme Officer in every State should help workers get UIDAI numbers, says Ministry

The Ministry of Rural Development on Tuesday directed the States not to deny workers job cards under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for non-possession of either bank/post office account numbers or the Aadhaar card.

The instructions, a copy of which is available with The Hindu, say it is the responsibility of the MGNREGA Programme Officer in the States to help workers obtain Aadhaar numbers.

The directives follow an affidavit filed by activist Jean Dreze in the Supreme Court on denial of wages in Khunti district of Jharkhand to a few labourers without Aadhaar cards. “This is a violation of the Supreme Court’s interim order, dated September 23, 2013, which states ‘no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card ...’.”

The affidavit mentioned a specific case in Tirla gram panchayat, where three of the 22 workers who worked on land development at Belahati from December 19 to 25 last did not have UIDAI cards.

According to sources familiar with the case, the affidavit was filed as a “wrong impression is being created that a UID is compulsory (or about to become compulsory) for NREGA wage payments and NREGA workers with no UID are paying the price for the confusion...”