About 88 per cent of wage payments under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MGNREGS) was made through the Aadhaar Based Payment System (ABPS) in May, the Union rural development ministry said.
In a statement, the ministry also said that out of the total 14.28 crore active beneficiaries, Aadhaar has been seeded for 13.75 crore. Against these seeded Aadhaar, 12.17 crore have been authenticated and 77.81 per cent are now already eligible for ABPS, it said.
In May, about 88 per cent of the wage payment was made through the ABPS, the ministry said. Under the MNREGS, the ABPS has been in use since 2017.
"After almost universal availability of Aadhaar number to every adult population, now the Government of India decided to extend ABPS for beneficiaries under the (employment) scheme. The payment will land through ABPS only to the account associated with ABPS, which means that it is a safer and faster way of payment transfer," the ministry said.
National Payments Corporation of India data shows that there is a higher success percentage to the extent of 99.55 per cent or above where Aadhaar is enabled for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). In case of account-based payment such success is about 98 per cent, the data shows.
The rural development ministry said according to the Unique Identification Authority of India, more than 98 per cent of adults have an Aadhaar number. It added that individuals who do not have one should visit appropriate agencies.
States have been requested to organise camps and follow-up with beneficiaries under the MGNREGS to achieve 100 per cent ABPS, the ministry said.
"The ministry has made it clear to all the states that the beneficiary who comes for work should be requested to provide the Aadhaar number but will not be refused work on this basis. If a beneficiary does not demand for work, in such case her/his status about eligibility for ABPS does not affect the demand for work," it said.
The ministry added that job cards cannot be deleted on the basis that a MGNREGS worker is not eligible for ABPS.
"Mahatma Gandhi NREGA is a demand driven Scheme and is affected by various economic factors. Proper ecosystem for ABPS is in place. Considering the benefits of ABPS for beneficiaries, this is the best system to be followed for the payment," it said.
"Aadhaar-based payment system is nothing but a route through which the payment is getting credited in the account of beneficiaries. There are well defined steps adopted in this system and role of beneficiaries, field functionaries and all other stakeholders is clearly defined," the ministry said.
It said that ABPS is helping genuine beneficiaries to get their due payment and is instrumental in curbing corruption by weeding out fake beneficiaries.
The ministry also said the step was taken after it was noted that in many cases due to frequent changes in bank account number by a beneficiary and new account number not being updated by the programme officer, several transactions of wage payment were rejected by destination bank branch.
In consultation with different stakeholders, it was found that to avoid such rejections, ABPS is the best route for making wage payment through DBT. It will help the beneficiaries in getting their wage payment on time, the ministry said.
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