New Delhi: The Planning Commission has sought the Reserve Bank of India’s intervention in streamlining the mechanism of paying wages under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).
In a letter to the central bank, the Commission said that the RBI should give directions to banks to ensure that payments to the beneficiaries of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) are made only through banks or post-offices, a source said.
The Planning Commission’s request is significant in view of reports that payments are still being made in cash, leading to funds getting misappropriated.
The Commission has pointed out that disbursing funds under the NREGA, which has an annual allocation of Rs30,000 crore, needs to be strengthened to ensure that no leakages happen as the canvas of the programme is bound to expand in the near future.
The central government has issued detailed guidelines (Section 7.2) for wage payment, which say that banks and post-offices are useful for the purpose.
However, all states do not follow the guidelines as these are not mandatory. The matter was brought before the Supreme Court in public interest litigation last year by a Delhi-based NGO Centre for Environment and Food Security (CFFS).