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In Karnataka, middlemen nonetheless rule in MNREGA scheme

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Contractors or ‘mestris’ get work achieved by way of machines however present work to be achieved by MNREGA employees

A five-year analysis of fee of wages to beneficiaries of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme by way of Electronic Fund Management System (eFMS) in Karnataka revealed presence of contractors or “mestris”/middlemen who get work achieved by way of machines however present the work to have been carried out by registered MNREGA employees.

Evaluation of the functioning of eFMS throughout 2013-14 and 2018-19 performed by the Karnataka Evaluation Authority (KEA) discovered {that a} majority of ‘not worked’ job cardholders had lent their playing cards to mestris or contractors who get an assigned work achieved by way of machines corresponding to tractors, tippers, JCBs.

The fee of wage to beneficiaries by way of eFMS in eight districts of Chickballapur, Kolar, Dakshina Kannada, Mandya, Uttara Kannada, Dharwad, Kalaburagi, and Yadgir discovered that 32.3% of job cardholders had by no means labored even as soon as underneath MNREGA. “But they were all job cardholders, and claimed to have registered seeking work”. Another 53.8% claimed to have labored simply as soon as after having registered and obtained the job card, mentioned the KEA examine (2020).

Some gram panchayats have knowledgeable a couple of new kind of “middleman” rising within the technique of wage disbursal. “These are the outsourced ‘data entry operators’, who too, the study said, “demand a fee for their role of timely data entry operations or facilitating the uploading of funds transfer order and digital signatures of the two signatories.”

Since the introduction of eFMS in 2013-14, cash has been transferred to beneficiaries’ accounts straight with none money disbursement. Wages to the labourers are anticipated to be paid on a weekly foundation and never past 15 days of the date on which work was achieved.

The State has greater than 68 lakh job cardholders within the State.

Though the employees most popular eFMS mode of fee, materials suppliers corresponding to contractors or mestris weren’t proven a lot desire. “It is the mestri, he or she, who collects the wage list, attendance list with the different workers’ names and details of work done by them,” reveals examine.

On the constructive aspect, out of a pattern of 4,301 job cardholders, 75% had reported that there was no delay in wage fee since eFMS had been launched. In 2018-19, Karnataka’s common fee of well timed fee of wages stood at 75.76% in opposition to the nation’s common of 90.52%.

Major causes weren’t because of expertise components however owing to the absence of signatories in workplace when required, mismatch between the account particulars and what was acknowledged within the wage payments, the delay in preparation of wage payments by the group leaders (mestris), unsuitable entry of job card quantity, and adjustments in checking account quantity after job card registration, the KEA examine mentioned.

In some districts, it was troublesome to acquire informal employees for agriculture or for every other operations largely because of implementation of the Anna Bhagya scheme, it mentioned.

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