Tamil Nadu least compliant with NREGA’s norm on payment mode

New Delhi, Aug 22 Less than a per cent of the wages paid under NREGA was routed through bank and post office accounts in Tamil Nadu, even as the country&aposs average stood at 84 per cent last fiscal.

The government has been stressing on NREGA wage payments through bank or post office accounts to avoid partial or non-payment of wages to workers, complaints of which had become quite frequent.In 2009-10, while total wage under the rural employment guarantee scheme paid in Tamil Nadu was Rs 1,711 crore, just Rs 2.4 crore was disbursed through bank and post office accounts, officials informed.

With 0.14 per cent of wages for unskilled workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) paid through the accounts, the southern state is behind even the less-banked states of Northeast.

This is despite regional spread of branches of scheduled commercial banks being skewed towards southern India that has 28.1 per cent of the country&aposs total 88,363 bank branches.

Central part of the country has almost 20 per cent of the branches, 17 per cent in the north, 16 per cent each in the east and the west, and a meager 2.7 per cent in the Northeast.

Of the 90&aposunbanked&aposblocks in India, about 80 are in the Northeast, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

While Nagaland and Sikkim beat the national average with 85.4 per cent and 844 per cent wages disbursed through bank and post office accounts, Assam and Manipur showed better compliance to guidelines with 76 per cent and 50 per cent.

Rest of the Northeast — Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram — paid over 30 per cent through accounts.

“As per the Operational Guidelines, 2008 of MGNREG Act, the type of banks to be allowed (eg rural banks, cooperatives, nationalised, post offices, mobile banks for inaccessible areas), should be selected in the light of the local conditions, with a view to ensuring smooth and timely payments,”Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee recently said.

States and Union Territories that showed compliance of 99 per cent and above are Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, sources informed.

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