The Union Rural Development Ministry has extended the deadline for mandatory payments of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme via Aadhaar Based Payments System (ABPS) to August 31.
The Ministry announced this on social media platforms though did not share the order in public. This is the fourth time the Ministry is extending the deadline, since the State governments have complained that reconciling the differences in Aadhaar data and the job card details of the beneficiaries is taking some time.
The first order was issued on January 30 setting the deadline for February 1, it was later extended to March 31 and then it was set for June 30.
On June 3 as per a press release by the Ministry, out of the total 14.28 crore active beneficiaries, the Aadhaar has been seeded for 13.75 crore. Against these seeded Aadhaar, a total 12.17 crore Aadhaar have been authenticated and 77.81% are now already eligible for ABPS. In the Month of May 2023, about 88% of the wage payment has been made through ABPS.
Though, The Hindu, in its story June 25 highlighted that this pressure to use ABPS has led to high deletion rate of job cards with several genuine beneficiaries getting binned because of a mismatch between their Aadhaar and job card details.
The NREGA payment system allowed for two modes of wage payments “account based” and “aadhaar based”. The former was a plain bank transfer while the latter uses Aadhaar as a financial address and sends money to the person’s “last Aadhaar linked account”. For this to work, the worker’s job card and bank account must be seeded with Aadhaar and the account should also be connected to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) mapper.
Explained | Gaps in Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AePS) abused by cybercriminals
“The ABPS is a horrendously complex system that has created a new generation of payment problems such as unresolved rejections, diverted payments and blocked payments,” economist Jean Dreze had said in a note that he submitted during a meeting with Ministry of Rural Development during a meeting on May 2 on this issue.