Kerala Minister M.V. Govindan tells Assembly that ₹199.45 crore as wages under MGNREGS pending in State as Centre is yet to transfer amount

M.V. Govindan says Union Government’s directive earlier this year splitting wage payments under the scheme into separate categories for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and others from this financial year has led to processing complications

Payment of a total amount of ₹199.45 crore as wages for workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the State is pending as the Union Government is yet to transfer the amount, Minister for Local Self-Governments M.V. Govindan told the Assembly on Monday.

Replying to a submission from C.K. Asha, MLA, Mr. Govindan said the Union Government’s directive earlier this year splitting wage payments under the scheme into separate categories for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and others from this financial year has led to processing complications. This may also cause needless conflicts between different sections of workers, he added.

The Minister said that as per the Union Government’s directive, two more bank accounts had to be opened for disbursal of wages to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The wages have been provided to workers through the three separate accounts since April this year. However, there has been undue delay from the Centre in crediting the wages into the separate accounts for SCs and STs.

Withdrawal sought

“The caste-based payment system has created tensions among the workers. Going by such approaches from the Union Government, one has to suspect whether these are attempts to weaken the MGNREGS. The State Government has demanded the Union Government to withdraw this directive,” said Mr. Govindan.

The Minister said that out of the total allocation for all the States this year, as much as 96.45% has already been spent on wages. With several months remaining in the financial year, this could cause serious issues in the project implementation and wage disbursal for workers.

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