Kerala is among the five worst performing states when it comes to making delayed payments under the UPA government's flagship programme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS). About 41 percent of all payment in the financial year 2012-2013 is delayed in the state.
Kerala comes third among all the states in delayed payments list, after West Bengal and Maharashtra. As per the figures of the MNREGA for the year 2012—2013, the national average in the percentage of payment delayed is 22.77 percent; West Bengal tops the list with 47.5 percent payments being delayed. This is followed by Maharashtra, with 42 percent being delayed.
In Kerala, the total sum of delayed payments stands at Rs 223.98 crore. Of this, 43 percent is delayed by 15 to 30 days; 46.13 percent is delayed by 30 to 60 days; 9.4 percent of the payment is delayed by 60 to 90 days; and 0.89 percent payment delayed for more than 90 days. In the last couple of years the delay has been slightly on the increase. While in the year 2010-2011 only 36.78 percent of the payments were delayed, in 2011-2012 it was 38.46 percent, and this increased to 41 percent in this financial year so far.
Within Kerala, the highest percentage of delay is reported in Wayanad where 61.88 percent of the payment is delayed. Wayanad is closely followed by Alapuzha with 61.88 percent of delay. Ernakulam district fares the best with only 7.187 percent of the payment being delayed. In fact, Ernakulam stands far ahead in comparison, since all other districts have more than 20 percent payments being delayed. Idukki notes delay in 23.25 percent of payment, 37.18 in Kannur, 44.79 in Kasargod, 29.26 in Kollam, 40.97 in Kottayam, 44.44 in Kozhikode, 63.29 in Malapuram, 48.52 in Palakkad, 46.29 in Pathanamthitta, 50.66 in Thiruvananthapuram, and 34.47 Thrissur.
The officials with the MNREGA attribute the relatively high proportion of delays in the state to effective delay tracking systems brought about by e-governance. “Kerala is much more transparent in tracking the delays, since it is all done online. Even our muster rolls are all online and hence the system starts counting the delays automatically. This is unlike several states like Manipur and Jharkhand that record the lowest delays,” said an official.
The official added that the delays were still a huge concern and the Kerala government will introduce systems like Electronic Funds Management Systems that will help reduce the delay.
Among the states which have any significant investment in the MNREGS, Jharkhand performs the best with only 0.098 percent of the funds being delayed. This is followed by Mizoram with 0.25 percent and Manipur with only 0.34 percent funds being delayed. The best performing Union Territory is Dadra and Nager Haveli, with no delays. But only Rs 29 thousand has been disbursed so far in the UT.