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After two months delay, TS NREGA workers to finally get paid as Centre releases dues

 NREGA workers in Telangana have not been paid for two months now. This wait will hopefully end soon as on Thursday the Centre released `132 crore of `250 crore it has owed the state since its inception towards the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) scheme.

Published: 22nd September 2017 02:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2017 07:14 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: NREGA workers in Telangana have not been paid for two months now. This wait will hopefully end soon as on Thursday the Centre released `132 crore of `250 crore it has owed the state since its inception towards the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) scheme. The funds were released to Rural Development department which implements  NREGA.However, this release of funds does not end the haggling between the State and the Centre over the scheme that started in 2014. The 2015-16 the State’s labour budget for NREGA was `13 crore, but the department spent `13.7 crore. In 2016-17 the State was allocated `10 crore for NREGA but spent `10.7 crore.

To make up the shortfalls, Telangana has been diverting money from other State schemes. However, the labour budget for the scheme in 2017-18 was only `8 crore. The rural development department exhausted the funds by June. “By June we had already done `9.6 crore person days worth of NREGA work, which is why we requested for more funds,” said B Saidulu, joint commissioner  Employment Guarantee Scheme and Information Technology, rural development department. “The state made a budget projection of `18 crore for this year but was awarded `12 crore which has not been notified,” he added.

With funds for the scheme drying up over the years, the number of persons opting for the scheme too has fallen in the state. From employing 45.76 lakh persons in the drought year of 2015, NREGA employment is 40.42 lakh in 2017. Under revised NREGA rates, a worker is entitled to `197 per day, but, the state’s average wage rate per day is just `138.75. “In summer the number of working hours drop so the wage rate drops,” Saidulu said. With the delay in funds coming in, it can currently take up to a “month and a half” for a worker to get paid despite the mandate that wages be paid in 15 days. 

As per the NREGA Act, workers must be paid in 15 days
TS says on average 88% of Fund Transfer Orders are generated in 7 days. Officials blame delays on late release of funds from Centre



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