BHUBANESWAR: The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has asked the State to give a clear picture on the number of accounts opened in post offices for payment of wages under MGNREGS, the flagship rural wage employment scheme.
The MoRD sought a report following mismatch between the data furnished by the State Government and the Department of Posts. This came to the notice of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology regarding disbursement of wages to labourers through post offices.
The Department of Posts had reported to the Centre that 11,49,319 accounts were opened up to March 2010 for the 2001-10 financial year, ` 233.37 were deposited and ` 194.60 crore were disbursed. Contrary to this, the State Government reported that 13,22,442 accounts were opened in favour of job seekers and ` 262.52 crore were disbursed.
A huge gap was also noticed by the parliamentary committee on the accounts opened in post offices and the disbursement made in the 2010-11 financial year.
The Department of Posts reported that while 16,31,541 accounts were opened up to March 2011, ` 406.14 crore were disbursed out of a total deposit of ` 421.76 crore.
According to the figures submitted by the Panchayati Raj Department for the last financial year, the total number of post office accounts for disbursement of wage was 15,24,514 and the funds disbursed were ` 359.15 crore.
‘There is a huge gap in the data furnished by the Department of Posts and the State Government. This raises the question mark about the system of maintaining as well as monitoring of accounts under MGNREGS,’ an official communication from the MoRD said.
The Ministry has further directed the State Government to identify the districts, blocks and villages where delay in disbursement of wages has been reported and the reason thereof and necessary corrective measures should be taken for timely payment of wages to the labourers.
Emphasising on creating awareness among the people about the massive wage employment scheme through information and communication technology (ICT), the Ministry has requested the State Government to apprise it of the progress achieved.
However, the parliamentary committee was silent on the abysmally slow off-take of the business correspondent model recommended by the MoRD. The business correspondent model is virtually a non-starter due to non-cooperation of the nationalised banks.