Around 15 lakh fake job cards under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in West Bengal have been cancelled during the last one year.
"The exact figure of fake job cards cancelled in the state till date during the current financial year is 14,17,557. It is an ongoing process and the number is expected to increase and cross 15 lakhs by March 31, 2023," an official from the state panchayat affairs & rural development department, the nodal department in the state for implementing the 100-day job scheme, said.
It is learnt that during the last four months, the state panchayat affairs & rural development department have undertaken a special drive to identify and cancel fake job cards in the state.
"This drive has really been very helpful and the number of cancelled cards have increased to such an extent. However, besides identification and cancellation of fake job cards, the department has continued with the process of issuing fresh job cards. Around 2,50,000 new families have been issued fresh job cards during the same period," the official said.
At the same time, he added that the departmental employees and field-workers engaged in the process have been overburdened with the additional tasks of ensuring that the fresh job cards issued get linked with the AADHAR card of the card holders and at the same time the bank accounts where 100-day job wages will be directly transferred are also AADHAR-linked. This AADHAR linking with the job cards is mandatory by the Union government to ensure that payments go to bank accounts of the genuine persons.
Recently, while addressing an administrative review meeting in West Midnapore district, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed dissatisfaction over the Union government's insistence for pushing online systems in different centrally-sponsored schemes.
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"The Union government wants to introduce a total online system in the lives of rural people. But how can the marginalised communities get accustomed to it? So, their lives are becoming miserable. The Centre has made mandatory linking of AADHAR cards with bank accounts for payment of money for the 100-day job scheme under MGNREGA. But is the Union government aware that there is not a single bank branch in several rural blocks in the state? What will the people staying there do?" the chief minister had questioned.
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