Kerala

MGNREGS | changes to attendance systems delay workers’ payments

Picture used for representational purposes only. File

Picture used for representational purposes only. File | Photo Credit: K. Mustafah

The mandatory implementation of a national mobile monitoring system for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREGS) without addressing various technical issues has led to payments to workers being held up.

After the system was made mandatory this week, reports have come from most districts in Kerala regarding inability to process wage payments.

The implementation of the Public Financial Management System, necessitating fund disbursal through a single account for the State MGNREGS, has also complicated matters. Officials here say the Union government has been implementing these changes unilaterally without studying practical issues on the ground.

"The national mobile monitoring system was first piloted with a requirement to capture the attendance at worksites with more than 20 workers through the mobile system. It has now been mandatory without ensuring that the system is working without any glitches. We have been getting complaints from across the State regarding inability to upload attendance data and capturing of attendance. Even in cases where the upload happened successfully, wage has not been processed," says an official of the MGNREGS State Mission.

Complaints

According to officials here complaints have been sent from the State Mission to higher-ups during the piloting stage, but these have not been addressed.

"There is some level of insensitivity in understanding such issues which only officials who go to the field can understand properly. Many of these changes are being imposed without any consultations or adequate study. These changes will severely affect the functioning of the MGNREGS," says an official.

The new arrangement under the Public Financial Management System has been another issue. All MGNREGS payments in all panchayats have to be now made through a single account, with the requirement that every single vendor for any kind of material also should be registered with the centralised system.

"Now, if there is a vendor serving tea or if the MGNREGS cell at a panchayat needs to buy paper, they have to get these vendors registered with the system. It needlessly complicates the system. Because there are a lot of vendors for each panchayat and such vendors across the country have to register with the system, now even the registration process is stuck and payments are held up," says an official.

The Union government has not been paying the material costs incurred under the MGNREGS works in Kerala since last August, with the pending amount now going up to several hundred crores. Many who have built cattle sheds and such constructions under the scheme have not been paid since last year due to this. Orders have also been issued from the Centre to not provide sharpening charges any more for farming implements that the workers bring.


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Printable version | May 17, 2022 9:27:49 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/mgnregs-changes-to-attendance-systems-delay-workers-payments/article65419572.ece