Hemant Soren and Jairam Ramesh share a light moment over wearing a crown of leaves at the function in Lali, Ranchi, on Wednesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Lali (Ranchi), Oct. 2: Rural job scheme workers in Lali village of Namkum block, about 30km from the state capital, can forget the long wait for wages. From now on, they can directly withdraw their monthly pay from the village post office itself.
Chief minister Hemant Soren and Union minister Jairam Ramesh today jointly launched the Aadhaar-enabled direct cash transfer scheme through India Post at the village for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) labourers. By doing so, Jharkhand became the second state after Andhra Pradesh to link the ambitious UID project with savings accounts in post offices.
Rural job workers of all 32,000 villages across the state will get their wages through Aadhaar-linked savings accounts opened in post offices by the end of this year. Thereafter, beneficiaries of other social security schemes like old-age pension, Indira Awas Yojna et al will be brought under the scheme.
“This new system will speed up wage payments to MGNREGS labourers. We will also link other social security schemes with Aadhaar-linked savings accounts gradually to ensure that beneficiaries get their payments within stipulated time,” said Hemant while addressing the gathering of villagers in Lali.
Union minister Ramesh added: “Jharkhand annually gets about Rs 1,500 crore as MGNREGS funds. But the state has the capacity to spend more. If it can spend up to Rs 4,000 crore, Centre is willing to give the amount,” he added.
Under the existing system, after an MGNREGA labourer completes the work given to him, the gram panchayat prepares a cheque and sends the same to the block, which forwards it to the district office. The district office then releases the amount to the bank, where the labourer has an account. The worker then goes to the bank, generally located far away, to withdraw money.
The ordeal is no less for those having saving accounts in post offices. With the banks sending cash to the concerned post office manually, the entire process of disbursement of wages takes nearly a month.
The new process promises to end that delay. Now, the district office can directly send the money to post offices through banks in electronic fund transfer mode. The post offices will be equipped with micro-ATMs and labourers can withdraw wages by producing their Aadhaar cards.
Ramesh hoped that the new system would bring down the time span of wage payments to about a fortnight, thereby encouraging more villagers to seek work under MGNREGS.
At present, Lali has around 5,000 MGNREGS workers. Of them, 4,000 have already got their Aadhaar cards. Enrolment of the rest is on.