Centre asks states to hold two month camps to achieve 100% Aadhaar linked NREGS

NEW DELHI: Enthused by the success of direct benefit transfer in paying the beneficiaries of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the Centre has asked states to hold special two month camps to achieve 100% Aadhaar-seeded bank accounts for those employed under the flagship rural job programme.

The government had last week said that the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme helped it save Rs 3,000 croreor 10% of the total funds allocated for MGNREGS in 2015-16.

A senior government official told ET that a new “consent form” has been designed by the Centre that the workers employed under MGNREGS workers will be “convinced” to sign and voluntarily seed their Aadhaarnumber into the bank account where they get wages through DBT.

A self-attested copy of the Aadhaarletter will have to be attached to the consent form and their details will be authenticated by the Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI). This comes even as the passage of the Aadhaar Act as a money bill has been challenged before the Supreme Court by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

At present, 60% of MNREGS accounts are seeded with Aadhaarbut only 16% of payments to 10-croreodd MGNREGS workers are done using the Aadhaar Payment Bridge.

MGNREGS remains India’s biggest DBT subsidy programme with nearly Rs 2,400 crore paid every month.

“It is the PMO’s top priority to increase Aadhaar seeding in MGNREGS,” an official said.

The government is of the view that seeding of Aadhaar numbers into all MGNREGS bank accounts could lead to even more savings by weeding out fake beneficiaries and ensuring that only the genuine workers receive the wages.

The Centre has asked the states to depute gram rozgar sewaks for mobilising MGNREGS workers and ensuring their presence in these special camps, where they will be explained the advantages of seeding their Aadhaar numbers into their bank accounts and sign the new consent forms.

It has been specified that MGNREGS workers can also submit their Aadhaar consent forms to the ‘bank mitra’ in their areas. States have also been asked to check with the Chief Post Master General for involving post offices in the exercise as the Department of Posts is in the process of rolling out micro-ATMS at all of its 1.29 lakh rural post offices and has migrated 85% of its accounts to the CBS platform.

The new consent forms involve the worker authorizing the bank and the government to seed his Aadhaarnumber into his bank account, use his Aadhaar details to authenticate him from UIDAI and enable all DBT credits to come through that account with due SMS alerts sent to his registered mobile number.