The number of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) workers who have been seeded with Aadhaar based payment is the lowest in Meghalaya as compared to other states in the country.
According to official sources, the number of active workers under MGNREGS in the State is 9.05 lakh. Of these only 28,000 have been seeded with Aadhaar based payment system.
After August 31, 2023, all workers wishing to find employment under the Centre’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) must switch to the Aadhaar-based payment bridge system. This means that till August 31, 2023, NREGA workers are allowed to get wages in two modes: account-based and Aadhaar-based.
The Centre has told state governments that all payments to the NREGA beneficiaries would be mandatorily made through the Aadhaar-based payment system from February 1, 2023. It then extended this deadline to March 31, and subsequently to June 30.
The Central government has also made attendance through the National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS) app from January 1, 2023.
To opt for the Aadhaar-based payment system, a NREGA job card holder must link his bank account with Aadhaar. The same account must also be connected to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) mapper.
The NPCI mapper is a repository of Aadhaar numbers maintained by the Aadhaar-based payment system and used for the purpose of routing the APB transactions to the destination banks. The NPCI mapper contains the Aadhaar number along with IIN of the bank to which the customer has seeded their Aadhaar number. Banks need to upload Aadhaar number in the NPCI mapper in a specified file format through the NACH portal.
The Ministry of Rural Development has recently stated that no worker under the MGNREGS was denied wage payment due to the Aadhaar-based payment system.
“To ensure timely payment of wages to the beneficiaries under the MGNREGS and to address the issues arises due to frequent change of bank account numbers by the beneficiaries and subsequent non-updation by the programme officers, it has been decided to adopt the Aadhaar-Based Payment System (ABPS), which does not get affected due to change of bank account. (This is also done) to ensure that only genuine beneficiaries should get benefit of the scheme… For this, the Aadhaar-Based Payment System is the best alternative,” the ministry said.