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India: Large-scale pending NREGA payments in April-May 2017

26 May 2017

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Fund Transfer Orders (FTOs) for NREGA wage payments worth Rs 3,045 crores are yet to be processed by the National Electronic Fund Management System (NEFMS) of the central government. The situation has worsened considerably over the past two months as 63 per cent of the FTOs pending for processing were generated in April - May. Processing of FTOs has come to a virtual halt over the past few days. The situation is worst for Kerala and Uttarakhand; no FTO generated in either of these two states has been processed since 15 April 2017 (see the Annexure for details).

This is not the first time such a problem has arisen; almost no FTO was processed for about 20 days in March – April 2017 as well. The reasons for this gross irregularity are unclear as the Ministry of Rural Development has provided no explanation.

Also, while the delays in wage payments should be calculated from the 16th day of completion of a work week till the day on which the workers actually receive their wages, the NREGA Management Information System (MIS) has been programmed to calculate the compensation in a flawed manner. Delay is calculated only till the ‘payment date’, instead of the date when the wages are actually credited to the workers’ accounts. The payment date is when the second signature is made to approve the FTO. It often takes several days before the payment reaches the worker even after the FTO is signed, as in the ongoing irregularity of FTOs not getting processed by the NEFMS. This flaw results in a gap that stretches to many months on a number of occasions. All this delay is completely unaccounted.

NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a recently formed platform for raising issues in the implementation of the employment guarantee act demands the following:

  • The government must adopt a system for NREGA wage payments that is reliable and not vulnerable to gross irregularities such as repeated delays in processing of FTOs.
  • The government must immediately inform states about irregularities such as non-processing of FTOs and also make this information available on the official NREGA website.
  • Workers must be compensated for the full extent of delays i.e. till the wages are credited in their account.

For further information, please write at nrega.sangharsh.morcha[at]gmail.com or contact Kamayani Swami (9771950248), Arundhati Dhuru (9415022772) or Ankita Aggarwal (9504091005).

Annexure: State-wise dates since when no FTO has been processed

States Date since no FTO has been processed
Assam 22 May
Bihar 8 May
Chhattisgarh 19 May
Gujarat 19 May
Haryana 16 May
Himachal Pradesh 5 May
Jharkhand 8 May
Karnataka 2 May
Kerala 15 April
Madhya Pradesh 19 May
Maharashtra 19 May
Odisha 19 May
Puducherry 19 May
Punjab 12 May
Rajasthan 8 May
Tamil Nadu 17 May
Tripura 22 May
Uttar Pradesh 19 May
Uttarakhand 15 April
West Bengal 19 May

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SEE ALSO:

Stop Manipulation of MGNREGA MIS to deny workers entitlements - Statement by People’s Action for Employment Guarantee (23 March 2017) http://sacw.net/article13159.html