BHUBANESWAR: Even as the Centre is putting pressure on the State Government to implement the business correspondent model for timely payment of wage, the latter is not getting the right kind of support from the nationalised and private banks.
The State Government has signed MoUs with State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, ICICI Bank and Punjab National Bank for wage payment under the business correspondent model. However, the system has not been fully operational due to non-cooperation of the banks.
As the banks and post offices in rural areas are few and far between, payment of wages to all the workers under the MGNREGS through bank and post office accounts is not possible. The business correspondent model, evolved by the Centre, to make payment of daily wages to the workers under the flagship wage employment programme is yet to take shape. The progress of implementation of the model in the State was reviewed by Chief Secretary BK Patnaik at a high-level meeting here last month. As per the decision of the meeting, a sub-committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the regional director, Reserve Bank of India. Panchayati Raj secretary, director, Special Projects, director, Institutional Finance of the Finance Department, State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) and chief regional manager of SBI are the other members of the sub-committee. The sub-committee will suggest operational modalities for implementation of the business correspondent model keeping in view the latest guidelines of the RBI and the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).
The first meeting of the sub-committee was held here on January 6 and the outcome of the meeting is yet to be intimated to the State Government, the Panchayati Raj Department informed the MoRD in a recent communique. The State Government further informed the Centre that the business correspondent model has become operational in Mayurbhanj, Ganjam and Gajapati by the SBI while Union Bank of India and ICICI Bank have appointed business correspondents in 15 districts.