Bhubaneswar, Jan 10:
Taking strong exception to the inordinate delay by the Odisha government in the payment of wages to the workers under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme, the Centre has asked the state government to disburse all delayed payment to these beneficiaries with immediate effect.
In a letter to chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said he came to know about the plight of the MGNREGA workers from the media.
Ramesh said as per the Management Information System (MIS) of his ministry, wages amounting to Rs 216 crore, which is 41 percent of the total wage payment, have been delayed by over 15 days by the state government while Rs 29 crore out of the total wage payments have been delayed by over 60 days.
“ This is a grave violation of the basic entitlements of these workers as the MGNREGA stipulates that wage payments be made within 15 days,” Ramesh said in his letter.
He said that his ministry has brought an amendment to Schedule II of MGNREGA to ensure timely wage payment and adequate compensation in case of delays to greater transparency and accountability in the process.
The notification can be viewed at http://nrega.nic.in/Netnrega/WriteReaddata/Circular/NOTIFICATION_Latest.pdf, Ramesh informed.
“ I would request the state government to give this utmost priority and disburse all delayed payments to beneficiaries immediately. Compensations as applicable may also be paid,” the Union minister said in his letter.